Recorded in many spellings including MacAsgill, MacAskill, MacKaskell, MacCaskil, MaccCaskill and MacKaskil as well as all the short forms commening 'Mc', this is a famous Scottish surname. It originates from the pre 10th century Olde Gaelic MacAsgaill meaning 'The son of Askell', the latter being a word and personal name which means 'The cauldron of the gods'. The clan have always had something of a warlike reputation. The first recorded nameholder was a William MacAskill, believed to have been from the branch known as the MacAskill's of Ebost. He was elected to lead the Clan Macleod in circa 1568, against another fleet of the Clanranald of Skye. The outcome was a draw. Other recordings include those of Donald M'Askle who in 1795 was in the British Army, whilst Angus McAskill, born in Lewis in 1819, was believed to be the tallest man in Britain in the 19th century. He was certainly tall being 7 feet 9 inches in his stockinged feet. He emigrated to Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, and died there in 1863. It is said that his clothes are preserved in the museum of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and he has been the subject of several books. According to ancient research the correct term for the clan is Clann t-Asgaill, and this also produced variant spellings such as Taskill and Taskel.
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