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Clan Macleod are a chiefly Scottish family.

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According to Plean and Squire it is generally held that Leod was the younger son of Olaf the Black, who was one of the last Norse kings of Man and the Northern Isles. Leod's direct royal origin is now doubted and he may have been a foster son.<ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 242</ref>

According to Dorward the family Patronymic is from an Old Norse nickname 'Ljotr' meaning ugly.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 226</ref>

Leod is said to have gained lands in Lewis, Harris and Skye.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 242</ref> A marriage to the daughter of the Norse seneschal or steward of Skye took the family to Dunvegan, where the castle is today still the home of the chiefs. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 242</ref> Following the Battle of Largs in 1263 the Norwegian kings were forced to give up their claim to the Western Isles. This left Leod with almost half of the Hebrides.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 242</ref> Leod, according to tradition, died around 1280 and was buried on the holy island of Iona, where six successive chiefs of the clan found a last resting-place after him.<ref>Nicolson, Alexander; Maclean, Alasdair (1994). History of Skye: a record of the families, the social conditions and the literature of the island. Maclean Press. 16</ref>

The clan had two main branches. These were the Macleods of Lewis and the Macleods of Skye. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 242</ref>A branch of the family gained lands in Assynt and Strathpeffer, building Castle Leod, which later became property of the MacKenzies.<ref>Dorward, Surnames, 227</ref>

Middle Ages

Dunvegan Castle

The clan were suspicious of central authority, although it is known that the son of Tormond, who had established the seat at Dunvegan, supported Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 242</ref> Historians have noted that virtually no royal charters were granted to confirm the chiefs in their lands.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 242</ref> It is thought likely they were more concerned with the power of their neighbours, the MacDonalds.

They followed the Lord of the Isles into the Battle of Harlaw in 1411 by survived the destruction of the Lordship by James IV. However the Macleods were forced to accept a royal charter which deprived them of some lands.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 241</ref>

The survival of Macleod power throughout the reign of James V has been attributed to the eighth chief, Alasdair Crotach 'Hump-backed'.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 241</ref>

Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

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