This family is descended from Dugall, eldest son of Somerlad of the Isles. The family have been described as 'one of the most unobtrusive and honoured families in Scotland'. Duncan MacKowle, founded the Priory of Ardchattan, Argyllshire, circa. 1230. Fergus Macdowylle had a confirmation charter of the barony of Malkerston, Yetholm and Clifton in 1374. In a list dated 1704 giving the names of clans and the numbers in each to be raised for the elder Pretender, the entry 'MacDulothes, 500 men' is meant for the MacDougall's. 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'. Leading figures of the name include Ewen MacDougall, who was King of Lorn and King of South Isles, which he held from the King of Norway. In 1263 King Ewen had to choose between the two paramountcies and chose Scotland, giving back the Isles to the King of Norway. 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. 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.
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