Recorded in a number of spellings including MacPhater, MacFater, MacPeeters, the more unusual Malpeter, and the alternative spellings with the short Gaelic prefix Mc, this is a surname of Scottish origins. It derives from the medieval Mac gille Pheadair, meaning literally 'The son of the friend (or servant) of St. Peter' and a name which is most associated with an Argyllshire family first recorded in 1607. This first recording is believed to be that of Malpeder, earl of Merns who it is said killed King Duncan 11nd at Monacheden in 1094, and Richard Malpeter who was a witness to a gift of land to the Abbey of Deer in 1132. Later examples include Thomas Moir McGillifedder of Argyll, whilst Duncan M'Fater, in the near modern spelling is recorded in the parish of Kilblaan in 1694. Names associated with the followers of early saints occur regularly in Scottish surnames, but much more in Ireland, where some 20% of all surnames have some sort of religious background.
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