Recorded as McFeat, McFade, McFeate, McPhade, McPhate, McPheat, and possibly others, this is a Scottish surname. It is said to originate from Galloway, where it was found in the first three surname spellings, although in later times it was most associated with the town of Fearn far way from Galloway in Ross and Cromarty, the see of Bishop Finlay M'Fead. The name derives from the ancient Gaelic "Mac Phaid" meaning the son of Pat(rick), a reference to St Patrick of Columba, and patron saint of the Roman Catholic parts of Scotland and Ireland. Many Gaelic surnames originate from original nameholders who for whatever reason were associated with, and devotees of, early saints, of which St Patrick has probably the greatest following. Be that as it may the surname is probably pre 10th century in origin, although the earliest surviving recordings are late medieval. These include examples such as Gilchrist McFaid of Dalmaloak, Dunbarton, in 1539, Duncan McPhade, who fought for the Royalists in 1649, whilst John McFeat was the tutor to the future Sir Walter Scott in 1780.
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