The MACLAUCHAN'S are of ancient origin. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles.As early as 1230 Gilchrist MacLachlan witnessed a charter granted by Lamond, ancestor of the Lamonds. In 1292 Gilleskel MacLachlan received a charter of his lands in Argyll from King John Baliol, and in 1308 Gillespie MacLachlan was a member of the first parliament of Robert the Bruce in St. Andrews. During the 14th and 15th centuries the chiefs of the clan made grants to the Preaching Friars of Glasgow from their lands of Kilbridge, near Castleachlan. In 1615, the MacLachlans formed part of Argyll's army that opposed the forces of Sir James MacDonald of Isla. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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