Recorded in several forms including Macildue, Macilduy, Macilduf, MacKilduff and Kilduff, this very interesting and ancient surname is of pre 7th century Gaelic origins. Recorded in both Ireland and Scotland, it suffers from the loss of early history annals in both countries. We know that all spellings derive from Mac Giolla Dhuibh, which translates as 'The son of the black headed one.' This seems an odd name for a castle. Even when shortened to 'The black headed one' it remains an unlikely name to give to the three Kilduff castles or homesteads, of which two are in Scotland at Kinross and East Lothian, and one in Ireland in County Galway. It seems that a lot of ancient myth has grown up around the name, including that before the medieval period in Scotland, the Killduffs were 'local kings' of their regions in Scotland, and refused to pay homage to their overlords, the kings of Scotland. Furthermore or so the tales go, inspite of being defeated in battle by the king of Scotland, the Kilduff's still refused to accept honours or entitlements from the king, - which is one reason why today they dont have any! Another reason could be that they were part of the infamous Border Reivers who terrorised the south of Scotland and the north of England for many centuries until the reign of King James 1st of England, and IVth of Scotland. King James is the true unifier of the kingdoms, and he put a stop to cross border raiding. Certainly the Kilduffs are not recognised either as nobility or indeed as a clan so it maybe that they were in outlawed? The first recordings of the name in any form is believed to be that of Gillicrist Macgilliduffi who in 1275 granted the monks of Beauly all his lands in Ouchter-Tarradale, whilst two centuries later Gilbert Mc ilduf as spelt, held a tenement in the town of Dumfries in 1461.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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