This interesting clan surname is of Medieval Scottish origin. It is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic patronymic Mac Gill Fhaolain. This name is recorded in the Genealogical Rolls of the year 1467 in Edinburgh, the translation being 'the son of the friend (or servant) of Fillan'. The personal name 'Fillan' is itself a derivative from the Old Irish 'Failan', now 'faol', and meaning 'The wolf'. This is probably an accurate description of the clan, as they were also associated with the famous (or infamous) 'Border Reivers' who ravaged the North of England for three hundred years.The McLellans were originally numerous in Galloway in the latter end of the fourteenth century and they gave their name to Balmaclellan, meaning McLellans town. The lands were originally granted by King James 111 of Scotland to John Maclellan in 1466, and it is not clear when they were 'lost'. Amongst the early recordings is that of Gylbert Mclolane, a juror on a Dumfries inquistion in 1367, whilst he is also recorded as Gilbert McGillolane, 'Captain of Glenconnan', Galloway, in the same year. (So much for medieval spelling). Peter McLellan in 1755 was one of the first to receive lands from the crown, folowing the defeat of Bonnie Price Charlie in 1745. Presumeably the clan, or at least some members, took the side of the British Government, as indeed did most of Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Patrick M'lolane, which was dated 1305, recorded as capturing Dumfries Castle from 'The Bruce', during the reign of The Interregnum Government of Scotland, 1296 - 1306. 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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