MacAulay Clan Crest: A spurred boot.
MacAulay Clan Motto: Dulce Periculum (Danger is sweet).
History of Clan MacAulay (MacAuley)
There are three provenances for the surname, one that it comes from Clan Alpen, from which also descends Clan Macgregor; the second is that the MacAuleys originate from a branch of the earldom of Lennox. Duncan filius Auleth witnessed a Charter by Malcolm, Earl of Lennox in c.1285, and for the following three centuries the family are on record as being principal vassals of the Lennox earldom.
The MacAulays of Lewis were of Norse descent, claiming Olav the Black, last King of Man, as their ancestor. As followers of the Macleods of Lewis, they were unconnected with the mainland MacAulays although they supported the Royalist Cause under the Marquis of Montrose and fought at the Battle of Aldern in 1645.
In 1591, a formal bond of alliance was entered into between MacAulay of Ardencaple and Macgregor of Glenstra, the former acknowledging the superiority of the latter. When the Macgregors were outlawed in 1603, however, the Ardencaple MacAulays appear to have successfully distanced themselves.
Zachary Macaulay (1768-1838) was an activist abolitionist of the slave trade and came from the Lewis line. Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-59), son of Zachary, was Member of Parliament for Edinburgh between 1839 and 1856, and served in Lord Melbourn'e Cabinet. He is best remembered as an Essayist. In 1857 he was made Lord Macaulay of Rothley. James Macaulay (1817-1902) founded The Boy's Own Paper and The Girl's Own Paper. Robertson M. Macaulay (1833-1915) emigrated to Canada in 1854 and built up the business Sun Life Assurance of Montreal.
Surname distribution in Scotland: The MacAulay surname is most commonly found in the Outer Hebrides (the major islands include Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Benbecula and Barra), Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Argyll and Bute and Highland (an amalgamation of the historic counties of Caithness, Inverness-shire, Nairnshire, Ross and Cromarty and Sutherland).
Places of Interest: Ardencaple, Gareloch, Argyll. Lands here were retained by the MacAuleys until 1767, when the 12th Chief sold them to the Duke of Argyll.
Associated family names (Septs): Macall, MacCall, MacKail, MacKell, MacPhedran, PacPhedron, MacPheidran, Paterson, Patterson, Aulay, MacAlley, MacAully, MacCauley.