The MACLACHLANS are of ancient origin. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles.As early as 1230 Gilchrist MacLachlan witnessed a charter granted by Lamond, ancestor of the Lamonds. In 1292 Gilleskel MacLachlan received a charter of his lands in Argyll from King John Baliol, and in 1308 Gillespie MacLachlan was a member of the first parliament of Robert the Bruce in St. Andrews. During the 14th and 15th centuries the chiefs of the clan made grants to the Preaching Friars of Glasgow from their lands of Kilbridge, near Castleachlan. In 1615, the MacLachlans formed part of Argyll's army that opposed the forces of Sir James MacDonald of Isla. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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