The surname of MacLEOD was derived from the Gaelic MacLeoid. The Siol Torquil branch of the Clan is descended from Torquil, son of Leod. In the 14th century King David II granted to Torquil MacLeod a charter of the barony of Assynt in Sutherland. Early records of the name mention Torquil M'Leoid de Leohus who witnessed a grant of lands in Badenoch, 1338. Murdoc McCloyd made an attack on the galley of the laird of Balomie, one of the Fife adventurers in the Hebrides in 1600. One of the most distinguished chiefs was Roderick 16th, the famous Rory Mor, who was knighted by King James V1 in 1603. He died in 1626. He was held in high esteem by the clan and his death was the occasion of the famous piobaireachd 'Rory Mor's Lament' composed by Patrick Mor MacCrimmon. The MacLeods supported Charles I and Charles II and were present at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 when the clan to the number of 700 were almost wiped out. The memory of this event and the ingratitude of the King may be the reason for the MacLeods refraining from taking part in the later Jacobite Risings.
The Rev. Alexander MacLeod (1774-1838) preacher and author in New York was the son of The Rev.Neil MacLeod who entertained Dr. Samuel Johnson during his to the island. Iain Norman MacLeod (1913-1970) was the Scottish politician, regarded as one of the most gifted members of the post-war generation of Conservative politicians, he served as colonial secretary (1959-61) under Harold Macmillan, and in that capacity, oversaw the independence of many British territories in Africa. 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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