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Malcolm Tartan

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Motto: In ardua tendit (He has attempted difficult things)

The name Malcolm is derived from the Early Gaelic ‘Mael Coluimb’ meaning devotee or shavling of Columba, the particular saint referred to being St Columba Iona.  The later Gaelic is Maol Chaluim.  Between 1189 and 1214 the spelling Malcholom occurs, and between 1247-1264 the name Malcolm IV is recorded.  The name Malcolm I appears as Maelcolaim.  The full form Maolchaluim for modern Malcolm of Calum (Callum) was in use til the 17th century but gave way to Gillecaluim and both now appear as Calum and Callum.  As a surname, its use is comparatively modern.  The present day Gaelic form of Malcolm is MacCalum.  

They settled in Lorn probably around the end of the 13th century.  There is some debate over how interchangeable Malcolm and MacCalum can be.  Malcom appears as a distinct surname in Dunbartonshire and Stirlingshire as early as the 14th century.  Four kings bore this name.  Ronald Maccallum of Corbarron was appointed constable of Craignish Castle in 1414.  Donald McGillespie Vich O’Challum, received a charter of lands of Poltalloch in the parish of Kilmartin in Argyll from Duncan Campbell of Duntrune in May 1562.

Into the 17th century Maccallums appear as Lairds of Poltalloch.  John Malcom of Balbedie, Lochore and Innerneil, Chamberlain of Fife in the reign of Charles I, had four sons: Sir John was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1665; Alexander became the judge, Lord Lochore; James fought with Viscount Dundee at Killiecrankie in 1689, and Michael.  

This family today bears a version of the chiefly arms of Maccallum, suitably differenced as determinate cadets, which might provide some evidence of a transitional link between the two names.  What is certain is that Dugald Maccallum, ninth of Poltalloch, changed his name to Malcolm, possibly for aesthetic reasons.  The Malcolm name is represented by various esteemed family member throughout the 18th and 19th centuries; including Admiral Sir Pultney Malcolm who was naval commander at St Helena when Napoleon was imprisoned there.  Several members of the family latterly became involved in politics in the 19th and 20th century.  The chief’s seat is still at Duntrune Castle.  The tartan is synonymous with the Maccullum.

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