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Laing are a Scottish kin-group without a chief, therefore considered an armigerous clan.


A descriptive name meaning 'long' or 'tall'. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref> It is a version of the name Lang and is pronounced 'lay-ing'. <ref>Dorward, Scottish Surnames, 176</ref> There is no certainty as to the first prominent family with this name.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref> The earliest date given by Plean and Squire is 1357, however John Lang of Coldingham is recorded c. 1250- 1280. <ref>POMS. accessed 13th May 2014</ref>

Middle Ages

In 1298 William Laing performs fealty to Edward I of England. <ref>POMS.</ref>

Black lists Thomas Laing as promising in 1357 that Dumfries would pay part of the ransom for the return of David II from England.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref>

Thomas Laing was a notrary in Edinburgh in 1461.<ref>Dorward, Surnames, 176</ref>

In 1472 John Laing became treasurer to James III and Bishop of Glasgow. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 176</ref>

Sixteenth Century

The name is found often in the records of the diocese of Glasgow during the sixteenth century. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref>

Eighteenth Century

Malcolm Laing, a lawyer and historian from Orkney, was admitted to the Scottish bar in 1785 and published a history of Scotland in 1800.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref>

Alexander Laing (1178-1838) was an antiquary, born in Coull, Aberdeenshire. He worked as a bookseller and stationer and as a result was nicknamed 'Stashie Laing'. He published a series of antiquarian writings including 'Scare Ancient Ballads Never before Published' (1822). <ref>Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (accessed 20th May 2014) </ref>

Nineteenth Century

Major Alexander Laing (1794-1826) was a European explorer of Africa who reached Timbuctoo but was murdered shortly afterwards.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref>

David Laing (1793-1878) was an Edinburgh antiquary and librarian. <ref>Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (accessed 20th May 2014) </ref>

Sir James Laing (1823-1901) was a Sunderland shipbuilder of Scottish descent. His father was from Pittenweem in Fife. <ref>Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, (accessed 20th May 2014) </ref>

Twentieth Century

Cosmo Lang was Archbishop of Canturbury from 1928 to 1942. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 412</ref>

R. D. Laing (1927-89) was a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness – in particular, the experience of psychosis. Laing's views on the causes and treatment of serious mental dysfunction, greatly influenced by existential philosophy, ran counter to the psychiatric orthodoxy of the day by taking the expressed feelings of the individual patient or client as valid descriptions of lived experience rather than simply as symptoms of some separate or underlying disorder. Laing was associated with the anti-psychiatry movement, although he rejected the label. Politically, he was regarded as a thinker of the New Left.

R.D. Laing