Macilwraith Coat of Arms / Macilwraith Family Crest
This surname was derived from the Gaelic Mac Ille Riabhaich, a name meaning 'the son of the bridled lad'. The name is common in Galloway and throughout the Highlands and was a common personal name in Breadalbane two hundred and more years ago. Early records of the name mention Andrew, son of John Make Gille Reue, a Scots hostage who died in Carlise Prison in the year 1300. Patrick M'Gillewriche was a tenant under the marquis of Huntlie in the Cabrach in 1607. Thomas M'Gilrewy was a Douglas tenant in the barony of Buittle in 1376, and David McKilwark was the bailie of Dunfries in 1476. Donald Makgillerech appears as a witness in 1485. John M'Ilwraithe was a notary public in Mayboill in the year 1641. Donald and Patrick M'Ghille-Reoch were among the duke of Athol's fencible men in Glenlyon in 1708. Macilvraith is an old name in the parish of Ballantrae, and it was a common surname in Kintyre and Islay, appearing on old tombstones there as Macilriach. The name also exists in Uist and Skye. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. They are a sept under Clanranald. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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