This branch of the clan Donald traces its history back to the 13th century, and its origin to ALEXANDER or ALASDAIR, son of Donald of Isla and great-grandson of the famous Somerlad. The clan territory was principally in Kintyre and in 1481 Charles MACALLESTAR is designated Steward of Kintyre. Later the clan was numerically strong in Bute and Arran. The principal family was the MACALISTERS of Loup whose chieftan in 1493 was Iain Dubh. This family continued to figure prominently in the history of Kintyre, and their name appears in the General Band of King James VI in 1587. An important branch of the clan was the MACALISTERS of Tarbert. The name is also spelt MACALISTER, MACALESTER, MACCALISTER, MACALLASTER and MACCALISTER, to name but a few. 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. Later instances of the name include Alexander MAKALESTER, who appears in the Black Isle in 1500, and Africk McQUHOLLASTAR is mentioned in a charter in 1571. Angus McALESTER was a follower of Murdow McCloyd in the attack on the galley of the laird of Balcomie in 1600.
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