Macalastair Coat of Arms / Macalastair Family Crest
This name was originally from the Greek ALEXANDROS, which denoted defender of men. The popularity of the name in the Middle Ages was largely due to the Macedonian conqueror, Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) - or rather to the hero of the mythical versions of his exploits which gained currency in the 'Alexander Romances'. The name was also borne by various early Christian saints, including a patriach of Alexandria (AD c.250.326) who was venerated for condemning the Arian heresy. The name was introduced into Scotland by Queen Margaret, wife of King Malcolm Ceannmor, from the Hungarian court where she was brought up. As a surname Alexander is very common on the west coast of Scotland, and it was the name of three Kings of Scotland. Alexander I.(1077-1124) King of Scotland. In 1107 he succeeded his brother Edgar, but only to that part of the kingdom north of the Forth. He married Sibilla, a natural daughter of Henry I. of England, and he initiated a shift towards a more diocesan based episcopacy. Other records of the name mention William Alexander who was connected with the accounts of the city of Edinburgh in the year 1435. Robert Alexander who was a granger in Feichly in 1438. A well known Scottish family with the surname Alexander included among their ancestors Sir William Alexander, court poet to King James VI. of Scotland and I. of England, who created him Earl of Stirling in 1633. Among his descendants were the Jacobite James Alexander who fled from Scotland after the 1715 rebellion, and his son William Alexander (1726-83) a distinguished general in the American Revolution. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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