This English nickname of GALLETLY was perhaps given to a messenger. The name was originally derived from the Old English word GON (to go) and LIHTLY (lightly and swiftly). In Scotland the name has altered into various forms, and is of uncertain origin, perhaps an unidentified habitation name. The earliest known bearer is William Galithli, who witnessed a charter at the beginning of the 13th century. Henry Gellatly, the illegitimate son of William the Lion, of whom little is known, was the grandfather of Patric Galythly, one of the pretenders to the crown of Scotland in 1291. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.
In Ireland the name is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac an Ghalloglaigh 'the son of the gallowglass'. A gallowglass was a mercenary retainer or auxiliary soldier. In 1296 a royal writ was issued to the sheriff of Aberdeen on behalf of Henry Golitheby, who rendered homage in that year. Ranald Galychtly was the burgess of Dundee in 1461, and John Galichly of Ebruks sold the temple land of Lethindy in 1472. John Galychtly was a tenant of Midil Drome in 1489 and Gilbert Galetly was the burgess of Dundee in 1592. The name has many forms and has been spelt as Gellitly (1676) Gellitlie (1687) Gelletlie (1735) and Alletrie (1700). The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Galletly).
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