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The Macnabs of Barachastlain

The Macnabs of Barachastlain were blacksmiths - hereditary Armourers said to have lived and worked at Dalmally near Loch Awe since perhaps 1440. Duncan, the first of Barachastlain, was probably a younger son of a Chief. He is said to have traveled to Italy to learn his trade, and then returned to Scotland where he is supposed to have been responsible for much of the ironwork at Kilchurn Castle. Later generations of Barachastalains were sometimes a bit on the wild side, if Patrick M’Agowin c. 1632 is anything to go by, as in his younger days he was prosecuted several times for various infractions of the law ranging from disturbing the peace to thieving to murder. Ultimately, the family dispersed (like so many highland families) but there are undoubtedly many descendants around the world today, as the earlier generations were very large - we hope via DNA testing to eventually identify more members of this very old and important family of Macnabs.

Along with other leading families of the neighborhood (including MacNaughton of Eilan Fraoch, MacDougall of Lorn, MacGregor of Glenstrae, MacIntyre of Glen Noe, McCorquodale of Loch Trommlie and two branches of the Campbells), the Macnabs of Barachastlain had an armorial stall in the St. Conan’s Kirk, Dalmally, on the shores of Loch Awe. The armorial panels, carved of Spanish chestnut and set in the chancel of the Church, were recently restored by Graciela’s team - the photos below show their condition before restoration, during the restoration process, and their magnificent appearance once the restoration was completed.

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