The surname of McLEOD was derived from the Gaelic MacLeoid.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. The Siol Torquil branch of the Clan is descended from Torquil, son of Leod. In the 14th century King David II granted to Torquil MacLeod a charter of the barony of Assynt in Sutherland. Early records of the name mention Torquil M'Leoid de Leohus who witnessed a grant of lands in Badenoch, 1338. Murdoc McCloyd made an attack on the galley of the laird of Balomie, one of the Fife adventurers in the Hebrides in 1600.
The Rev. Alexander MacLeod (1774-1838) preacher and author in New York was the son of The Rev. Neil MacLeod who entertained Dr. Samuel Johnson during his visit to the island. 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.
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