Recorded as Baron, Barron (English), and as Baron, Barron, MacBarron, McBarron, and now extinct versions such as Macawaran, MacBharon, Makwarrane, M'Barroun and others (Scottish Gaelic), this is a surname of ancient origins. Surprisingly perhaps, it derives from the pre 7th century Germanic word "baro," which in ancient times described a freeman. As "baron" it was introduced into both England and Scotland by the Norman French supporters of Duke William of Normandy in his invasion of England in 1066, and it already marked the lowest rank of nobility. The king of Scotland Malcolm 111rd, famous for his defeat of MacBeth in 1054, supported William in his conquest, and also granted lands, particularly in the south of Scotland to many Norman knights. Being freemen, these became known as "barons", even when they were not officially appointed, and they in turn became a useful military force to the king. They formed by allegiance one of the earliest standing armies, helping to maintain the crown authority both in the disputed "Border country" between England and Scotland, and over the unruly Highlanders to the north. It is unclear when it first became a recorded surname although John Rose, the third son of the 9th Laird of Kavrock was known as John Mac-a-Bharon in circa 1403. Robert McBarron was a witness in Dunblane in 1539, whilst it was well recorded in Inverness as M'Barroun at the same period. Later the prefix was dropped, and as Barron it remains a popular surname in the north.
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