This surname was derived from the Gaelic MacNeahdainn 'the son of Neachdain'. The name means 'pure'. Early records of the name mention Gillecrist MacNachtan who granted the church of Kilmorich to the Abbey of Inchaffray in 1247. Donald MacNachtune who was the son of an unmarried nobleman and an unmarried woman was dean of Dunkeld in 1431. 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'. Other instances of the name include Alexander Maknachtan who signed the Earl of Argyll's letter of fire and sword against Clan McGregor. Alister M'Nachtane who was the burgess of Glasgow in 1614, and in 1627 Colonel Alexander MacNaughten raised a company of two hundred Highland bowmen for service in the expedition to France for the relief of La Rochelle. They were however recruited too late for that purpose. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker.
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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. That Ilk, Scotland).
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