There are several origins suggested for the Clan MacMillan, and the fact that they were found in widely spread areas makes the problem more difficult. It was suggested that they were connected with the Clan Chattan, but the Buchanan of Auchmar claims their descent from the Buchanans. The name is of ecclesiastical origin. The McMillans were in the Loch Arkraig district in the 12th century when it is alleged they were removed to the crown lands round Loch Tay. About two centuries later they were driven from Lawers, and a great number settled in Knapdale, while others travelled farther south and settled in Galloway. 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'. 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. Leading figures of the name include John MacMillan (1670-1753) the founder of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. Kirkpatrick MacMillan (1813-78) was the inventor of the bicycle. Margaret McMillan (1860-1931) was the British education reformer, and Sir Harold McMillan, born in 1894 was the British Prime-Minister, popularly known as 'Super Mac'. 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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