Although of ancient origin there are few authentic records of this clan. Clan Ewen, together with the Clan Lachlan, formed the Siol Gillevray of the Gallgael. They were known as the MacEwans of Otter. Eoghain na h-Oitrich (Ewen of Otter) gave his name to the clan. He lived at the beginning of the 13th century. Swene MacEwan, 9th and last of Otter, granted lands of Otter to Duncan Campbell in 1432 and resigned the barony of Otter to James I. It was returned to him with remainder to Celestine, heir of Duncan Campbell of Lochlow. In 1513 James V confirmed the barony to Colin, Earl of Argyll. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The name was originally brought into England and Scotland in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and EWEIN (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, appears to be the first of the name on record. EWAIN (without surname) was recorded in Scotland in the year 1164, and Ywein Ladde appears in County Norfolk in 1177. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Later instances of the name include Ewanus Bryches who was listed in the Preston Guild Rolls in 1562 along with Ewanus Barwick, Ewanus Dilworth and Ewanus Kellet.
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