Recorded as MacLeod, MacCloud, and MacGlade (Irish), as well as the short forms McLeod, McCloud and McGlade, this is a Scottish surname which is also well recorded in Ireland. However spelt, all descend from the clan MacLeod, thought to be the lineal descendants of the old Lords of the Isle of Man. Whether this is so or not early in the 18th Century, the clan added the Arms of Man to their coat of arms! The name spellings derive from the pre 10th century Old Gaelic "MacLeoid", meaning the son of Ljotr, the latter being a Norse-Viking personal name probably from "ljot-ulf", meaning ugly wolf! Such names were not unusual. The name Kennedy also means "ugly head". Amongst the interesting namebearers were: Mary MacLeod (1569 - 1674), given as being the Poetess of the Isles. Her poems were chiefly panegyrics of the Clan MacLeod. John McLeod (1777 - 1820), was a Royal Navy surgeon and author. He had a chequered career, being on one hand successful in seizing a French warship, whilst later being tried for piracy. The coat of arms of the clan is described thus: "Quarterly, first and fourth, blue a castle triple-towered and embattled silver masoned black windows and porch red; second and third, red three legs in armour conjoined at the upper part of the thigh proper placed in triangle and garnished and spurred gold, the arms of the Isle of Man, all within a bordure embattled gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gillandres MacLeod, which was dated 1227, in the "Acts of Parliament of Scotland", during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. 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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