The Gaelic for this name is MacAsgaill, and was derived from the Old Norman personal name Askell. The name was brought into Scotland in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. It was a William MacAskill, probably a member of the family of MacCaskill of Ebost, who led the Clan Macleod against the fleet of Clanranald at Eynot, west of Skye in the sixteenth century. Donald M'Askle was a corporal in the Reay Fencibles in 1795, and Calum MacAsguill was the author of 'Bearnaraidh na-h-Earradh' written in the eighteenth century. 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. Angul McAskill, born in Lewis, died in Cape Breton on August 8th 1863 in his thirty-eighth year. He was 7 feet 9 inches in height and was known as the Cape Breton Giant. (One of his boots, 16 inches in length, is preserved in the Provincial Museum in Halifax). The Macasgills are known as Clann t-Asgaill. 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 '.
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