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Surname Maclereigh - Meaning and Origin

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Maclereigh: What does the surname Maclereigh mean?

The last name Maclereigh is of Irish origin and its meaning is derived from the Gaelic Mac Giolla Riabhaigh meaning “son of the servant of the king”. This clan originally formed part of the Ui Maine in the province of Connacht and was closely associated with the great Gaelic families of MacDermot and MacTighearnan.

The Mac Giolla Riabhaighs were one of the leading families of the province of Connacht and they are recorded as being one of the few families who supported the native Irish chieftains during the war of 1641. They were prominent in the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and participated in the United Irishmen movement.

The Mac Giolla Riabhaighs were nobles in Scotland and were known as the Earls of Mucklare. They were based mainly in Antrim where they held considerable power and estates. The family had strong links with Presbyteries throughout Scotland and Europe.

Due to their close ties with the Irish elite, the Mac Giolla Riabhaighs were able to access thousands of acres of land in Connacht and Ulster. They also held prominent positions in the Irish merchant community and in the professions. Today, the Mac Giolla Riabhaigh name is still associated with noble Irish families and the family continues to be respected as a powerful, resilient and successful clan.

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Maclereigh: Where does the name Maclereigh come from?

The last name Maclereigh is most common in Ireland, where records indicate that the name was used in County Fermanagh as early as 1317. In Ireland, the name remains most plentiful in the counties of Donegal, Fermanagh, Tyrone, and Monaghan, particularly in the northwest of the country. In the United States, the name is also present, mainly on the East Coast. Immigrants bearing the name arrived in Massachusetts and New Jersey in the 18th century, and it is now most abundant in North Dakota.

The name Maclereigh is also present in parts of Canada and Australia. Indeed, the 2001 Canadian census showed concentrations of the name in Ontario and Newfoundland, and in Australia, Maclereighs are mostly found in New South Wales and Victoria.

The origin of the name Maclereigh is unclear, although some sources believe it is derived from the Irish Mac Giolla Riabhaigh, meaning 'son of the follower of Riabhach'. This was a personal name meaning "prosperous" or "speckled". The name is also sometimes spelt MacLeerey or McLereigh.

Variations of the surname Maclereigh

Maclereigh is a Scottish surname. It is most commonly found throughout Scotland but is also known to exist in Ireland, England, Canada, and the United States. The surname Maclereigh, though thought to originate from Mac Leerie, may also be spelled many other ways including; MacLerie, MacLeery, McLerie, McLery, MacLary, MacLerey, MacLarey, MacLari, MacLauer, MacLairie, and many more. It is believed that the name first originated from the Galloway area in Scotland with ties to the ancient Scottish Clan MacLellan.

Maclereigh is a name derived from the Gaelic MacLeerie. There are multiple spellings, such as MacLarie or MacLerey, used by the people of Scotland. The name is also used in parts of Ireland, England, Canada, and the United States.

The most common variant of the name is MacLerie. By the 1400s, this variant had spread out from the original home of MacLeerie in Galloway, Scotland. The name was then found throughout Scotland and Ireland. In parts of England, particularly the northern half, it is spelled MacLeery.

It is believed that the name is descended from two older names, Mac Leerie and Mac Lellan. The first was a variant of the Gaelic name Mac Giolla Riabhaigh, meaning son of the grey follower. The second is more commonly spelled MacLellan and is associated with a Clan of the same name.

Many generations later, the name has been adapted, updated, and shortened to become Maclereigh. It is still widely used as a surname throughout except for the United States. There, the variant McLerie has become the dominant form.

Famous people with the name Maclereigh

  • Andrew Maclereigh: Australian entertainer and former Paralympian.
  • Ewan Maclereigh: Scottish actor and singer.
  • Malcolm Maclereigh: English actor best known for his roles in television series such as Casualty and Poldark.
  • Josie Maclereigh: Canadian comedian and actress.
  • Alexander Maclereigh: English composer and theatre producer from Northern Ireland.
  • Hugh Maclereigh: Irish entertainer and television presenter.
  • Harry Maclereigh: British country music singer/songwriter from North Yorkshire, England.
  • Dario Maclereigh: Italian television actor and musician.
  • Jean Maclereigh: French actress and film director.
  • Iain Maclereigh: Scottish actor and television host.

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