This surname MACREA was derived from the Gaelic 'Macrath' meaning 'the son of grace or prosperity'. Early records of the name mention Patrick M'Re who was a tenant in Tybris parish, Scotland in the year 1376. Dugall McRay was a witness at Kilmun in the year 1476. The clan appears to have inhabited the lands of Clunes in the Beauly district in the 12th and 13th centuries and removed to Kintail in the 14th century. The founder of the Kintail branch is said to be Fionnla Dubh MacGillechriosd who died in 1416. The Macrea's were loyal followers of the MacKenzies, Lord of Kintail and Earls of Seaforth. 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'. 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 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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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