This surname was a locational name from the lands of Dalgleish above the sources of Tinna Water in the parish of Ettrick, Selkirkshire. The name derived from the Gaelic 'dail' (field) and 'glas' (green). Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Nessus de Dalginge who witnessed a gift by Duncan, earl of Fife to the nuns of Berwick, was one of the first on record in Scotland, in the year 1177. The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another.
Early records of the name also mention Simon of Dalgles, who was a canon and the Bishop of Askirk in 1448. Ninian Dalgles was prebendary of Bothwell, Scotland in the year 1503. George Dalgleish, confidential servitor of the Earl of Bothwell was hanged and quartered for participation in a murder in the year 1556. The family early established itself in Fife and Perthshire, and families of the name still reside there. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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