In medieval Ireland the O’Neills had ruled all of northern Ireland for centuries and their kings would often give land to their second or third sons. The MacShanes were an example of these secondary benefactors and they generally came to occupy the territories of north-east Tyrone and later of Donegal and Louth.

Derived from the Gaelic name Mac Seáin, it means ‘son of John’. It came into use in the 1500s at the time of Shane An Díomas O’Neill, (Shane the Proud) Prince of Ulster, who was killed in 1567 and left ten sons behind him. In 1585 these sons invaded Ulster with 300 Scottish warriors in support and became known as the “Sons of Shane”.

Later after 1690 when the Gealic leaders had lost their power, Irish names had to be translated from Gaelic to a standardised English and so some of these families changed their name to Johnson. 

Macshane Clan Johnson

The families of McShane, Johnson, and MacSeáin, Shane, MacSeáin, Shand and O'Chane can all be traced back to Ireland.  

The arms of the MacShanes were originally based around the Red Hand, the original seal of Aodh Mór, recorded in use circa 1320 as the first traditional heraldry in Ulster.

These arms were updated in 1542 when Shane’s father had a standard shield and lions were added to the Red Hand.

Their present form was part of the gifts of Queen Elizabeth I presented to Shane an Diomas, in 1560 and reconfirmed in 1563 and includes the Rampamt Lion grasping the Red Hand of Ulster.