The McNaughton Family

McNaughton family crest

(Crest No. 145. Plate 62.)

THE name of this family is variously spelled McNaughton, O’Naughton, Naghten, Neaghtain, Noughten, and Norton. The McNaughtons are descended from Milesius, King of Spain, through the Heremon branch and belonged to the Hy Many tribe, which was founded by Eocha Dubhlein, brother of Fiacha Straivetine, King of Ireland, A. D. 285.

The founder of the family was Colla Meann, son of the latter. The ancient name was Neaghtain and signifies “Neutral.”

The Naughtons and O’Mulalays are given by O’Dugan as the two Chiefs of Maen Magh, or Moenmoy, a territory which, according to O’Flaherty, derived its name from Moen, one of the sons of Ugani. This territory was an extensive plain, embracing a great part of the present baronies of Loughrea and Leitrim, in the County of Galway. Previous to the Anglo-Norman invasion each of these two powerful families possessed in turn the chieftainship of this large and fertile district, according as the power of either preponderated.

The Naughton family removed from Moen Magh into the Faes or Fews of Athlone, in the County of Roscommon. The last chief of the sept was Shane O’Naughton, who died during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, May, 1587. Some of the family retained a considerable portion of their ancestral territory down to our own day.

A branch of this family took up their residence at Lisle, Flanders, and some of them attained rank and distinction abroad. Among those who attended the Prince of Hesse-Homberg, when he married the Princess Elizabeth, was a Baron O’Naghten. Another branch of this ancient sept were chiefs in the present Counties of Limerick and Clare.