This surname 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 Macraes 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'. Leading figures of the name include Duncan, 5th Lord of Kintail, who in 1539 slew Donald Gorm of Sleat with an arrow and was later granted the lands of Inverinate. Duncan of the Silver Cups was the 17th century Gaelic poet and compiler of the famous Fernaig Manuscripts. James MacRae (1677-1744) was the Governor of Madras. 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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