The Clan MacBean claims descent from the 8th century House of Moray. The name can be spelled either MacBean, MacBain or MacVean. The main branch of the clan were the MacBeans of Kinchyle, on Loch Ness, where there is now a MacBean memorial Park. They originated in Lochaber but later were transplanted to east Inverness-Shire. The MacBeans belonged to the Clan Chattan, a confederation of mostly Pict-descended clans in the north, who were opposed to the transfer of power from Picto-Scot Celts to Anglo/Normans. Thereby the deadly rivalry between the Comyns and the Bruces.
They were associated with the MacKintoshes, and supported that clan against John Comyn, Robert the Bruce's rival for the Scots crown. There was a constant struggle for leadership of the Clan Chattan, (which was typical of Pict politics) and many MacBeans fought and died on the MacKintosh side in the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. One MacBean was credited with killing the Steward of Red Comyn.
The MacBeans were exceptionally warlike. During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, one Giles MacBean killed 14 Hanoverian soldiers before being cut down himself. The clans greatest figure was William MacBean, who won the Victoria Cross in 1858 for his bravery during the Indian Mutiny.