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The name is said to derive from Macauselan (meaning son of Anselan)., The following two names are given as the root of the territorial name Buchanan, Mac a Chanonaich (The Son of the Canon) and Buth Chanain (meaning house or seat of the canon).
11th-13th centuries and origins
Traditionally, Clan Buchanan can trace its chiefly line back to Anselan O Kyan who was of the clan Ó Catháin, provincial king of north Ulster (and had his seat in Limavady, Co. Londonderry) who landed in Argyll in 1016.For his services against the Danes he is traditionally said to have received the lands of Buchanan from king Malcolm II which lie to the east of Loch Lomond around the village of Killearn.
However, the traditional account is inconsistent with other accounts for the period in Ireland, and may be little more than an origin myth.
During the reign of Malduin, Mormaer (Earl) of Lennox, 1217–1250, Anselan (third of that name) was granted, in 1225, the island of Clareinch.(Clár Inis). He is referred to as 'clericus meus', meaning 'my clergyman'. He is subsequently recorded as Absalom de Buchanan and it is understood that to have this title, there must have been other grants of land in the parish of Buchanan.During the reign of king Alexander II (1214–1249), Gilbert de Buchanan, seneschal to the Earl of Lennox, received, in 1231, a charter confirming Clareinch and other lands in Buchanan.It is from the lands of Buchanan that the Clan name is derived