This is a famous Scottish locational and clan surname, 'Moffatt and all that Ilk'. It is a derivation from the town of Moffat in Annandale, in the former county of Dumfriesshire. The origination of the place name is from the Gaelic 'magh', meaning a field or plain, and 'fada', translating as 'long'. Locational surnames are rare in Gaelic, and in this case there is something of a confusion between English and Scottish practice! Early name holders seem to have had a close relationship with the church, and recordings include that of Walter de Moffat, the bishop of Glasgow in 1268, and another Walter de Moffat who was Archdeacon of Lothian in 1348. However they seem to have been in a 'christian' minority of two, because the 'Moffatt' clan as a whole were more normally known for their membership of the 'Border Reivers'. This 'Gathering of the clans' raided the north of England for three centuries, their activities taking them as far south as York, even in the Elizabethan period. In 1587, it is recorded (in Scotland) that the 'Moffettis of the West Marche' were included among the 'unruly border clans', whose activities were 'to be curbed'. The Coat of Arms has the blazon of a black field, a saltire and chief in silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de Mufet, which was dated circa 1230, a charter witness in the city of Glasgow, 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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