THE MacLeods are Norse, and are descended from Tormod, son of Leod, who was the son of Olave the Black, King of Man. They were vassals of the Lords of the Isles, but became independent when that Lordship was forfeited. The Harris Chief is variously styled “MacLeod of MacLeod, MacLeod of that Ilk and of Harris.” Tormod received Glenelg from David II (Charter, 1344). His descendants held Harris, St. Kilda, and vast estates in Skye. In 1577 MacLeod of Dunvegan suffocated the entire population of Eigg in a cave. Rory More, outlaw, then trusted Royal servant (1595-1626) and Ian Breac (seventeenth century), a model Chief, were MacLeods of Dunvegan. Of Dunvegan also was General MacLeod of MacLeod, who raised the second battalion of the 42nd. Dunvegan Castle is still the abode of the MacLeods of that Ilk. The 27th Chief, Sir Reginald MacLeod of MacLeod, K.C.B., died in 1935, and was succeeded by his daughter Flora, Mrs. MacLeod of MacLeod, 28th chief of the clan.
THE MacLeods of Lewis (like the MacLeods of MacLeod) are of Norse origin, and were owners of the Lewis and of Waternish in Skye. They had also the lands of Assynt on the mainland by charter of the Crown 1340. They received charters of their insular possessions in the fifteenth century. Along with the clansmen of the Harris branch they fought on the right wing at Harlaw in 1411. At the close of the sixteenth century the male line of the MacLeods of Lewis became extinct. The lands of Assynt passed to the Earl of Seaforth in 1660. The story of how this came about is one of the darkest and bloodiest pages in the troubled history of the Highland clans. Their estates were transferred to MacKenzie of Kintail, and MacLeod of Raasay became the male representative of the ancient race. In the nineteenth century the Raasay family also lost their lands, but continued to be the principal cadet of Siol Torquil. The MacLeods fought for Charles II at Worcester, but took no active part in future Jacobite risings. Among the many scions of the Clan MacLeod, many members have risen to distinction. Foremost, perhaps, are the MacLeods of Morven, to which house belongs the famous Dr. Norman MacLeod.
THE pattern was said to have lain dormant for 160 years until it was revived in the 1960s by John Cargiill of Dundee and woven by Ben Nevis Handlom Weavers of Dundee. Wilsons are known to have applied the names of town and cities to patterns where they sold well, or had been obtained from. No other reason can be found to link the pattern with the place but it is now accepted as the Glasgow district tartan.