Meminisse sed providere (Remember, but look ahead)

The origins of the Clan MacNicol are thought to come from a Nicail or Nicholas in the mid 13th century.  The first MacNicol Chief on record is the early 14th century; John, son of Nicail (Gaelic – Mhicneacail), also known as Maknakill, Mak Nakyl and Macnakild.  He was courted by Edward II as a potential ally in the War of Independence.  

The MacLeods of Lewis appear to have inherited through marriage to a MacNicol heiress in the 14th century; thus placing the ancestral MacNicol Clan in Lewis where they would have served the kings of Mann and the Isles.  

After the loss of Clan lands on the Isle of Lewis, the male line of the MacNicols continued on Skye.  After the dissolution of the Lordship, the MacNicols followed the MacDonalds of Sleat, latterly taking part in a feud between the MacDonalds and MacLeans.  During the 17th century followed Charles I and the Marquis of Montrose in the Civil War.