This interesting and distinguished Scottish surname, having no less than eight Coats of Arms,and with several notable entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", is an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "Mael Coluimb", later "Maol Chaluim", devotee or shaveling of (St.) Columba, from "maol", bald, tonsured, and the personal name Columb from the Latin "Columba", "Dove". St. Columba was a renowned Irish abbot and missionary (born in Donegal circa 521; died on the island of Iona, 597), who is said to have been directly descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, 4th Century High King of Ireland. Having founded monasteries at Derry and Durrow, he travelled to Iona in the year 563, and established a monastery on the island. St. Columba converted the northern Picts of Scotland to Christianity, and enjoyed a considerable cult throughout the British Isles. One Norman filius (son of) Malcolumbe was one of the witnesses to the earliest known Scottish charter, that of King Duncan to the monks of St. Cuthbert in 1094. Four early kings of Scotland bore this personal name, and notable bearers of the surname include: Sir Pulteney Malcolm, admiral, who served under Nelson in the Mediterranean, 1804 - 1805. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield with five gold mullets on an azure saltire between four red bucks' heads erased, the Crest being a silver tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Malcum, a baker in Perth, which was dated 1545, in the "Protocol Book of Sir Robert Rollok", during the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots, 1542 - 1567. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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