This Irish surname is now an Antrim name and is normally a syncopated form of MACSCALLY. There are various ways of spelling this name amongst which are MISKELLY, MESKELA, MESCAL, MISKILL, MISKILLA, MISKLE, MESKELL, and MESCAL to name but a few. The name is found mainly in County Clare, and adjacent parts of counties Galway and Limerick, and to a lesser extent in the Waterford area. The name is infrequent in 18th century records; in the 17th century it was fairly prominent in the city of Cork and also in Tipperary. It is not known exactly what date a region in north-eastern Ulster was erected into the county of Antrim, but in l584 the Lord Deputy, who was then attempting to subdue Ulster and subject it to English government, divided the county into baronies. The chief town is the port-city of Belfast. Due to the growth of industry in the Lagan valley since the l9th century, there has been a heavy movement of population into the city and the surrounding area. Following the subjugation of the Irish chieftains in Ulster, Scottish and English settlers were induced to establish themselves in County Antrim as in the other counties of the province and many of these settlers were encouraged by the government to engage in the cultivation of flax, both for linen manufacture in the county and for export as yarn. Further encouragement was given in this industry at the end of the l7th and early l8th century when Huguenot refugees received grants to enable them to share their experience of textile manufacture and instruct those engaged in branches of their industry in Antrim, to improve their methods, so by the latter decades of the l8th century, County Antrim produced almost one half of the total Irish exports of brown linens. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the l2th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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