Campbell - Anglicised Surnames in Ireland

AuthorPadraig Mac Giolla-Domhnaigh
SourceSome Anglicised Surnames in Ireland

Campbell—This name is both of Irish and Scottish origin in Ulster. The Scottish surname as it stands at present is merely a sobriquet derived from Cam, Wry, or crooked; and beul, mouth; hence Caimbeul.

The original name of the clan Campbell was O'Duibhne, and its ancient clan name was Siol Diarmuid, or more fully Siol Diarmuid O'Duibhne, the hero of the Fenian Cycle, who killed the boar, and which animal the Campbells still retain on their coat of arms. The O'Duibhnes were Lords of Lochawe for several centuries since the time their ancestors came from Ireland, very probably soon after the fall of the Fianna Eireann. Coming to Scotland before the time of the Fergus Mac Erc incursion, Sir Paul O'Duibhne was Lord of Lochawe in the time of Malcolm, King of Scotland, and was known also as Paul an Sporran, or Paul of the Purse, being Treasurer to that king. Gillespie O'Duibhne, or Archibald O'Duibhne (See Archibald) as he was known by, who married the heiress of Sir Paul O'Duibhne, was the first to assume the name of Campbell, whose name appears on the Exchequer Rolls as holding lands in Menstrie and Sanchie, in Stirling county, in 1216. Colin Mor, the sixth in descent from Gillespie, was the founder of the "Mac Caillian Mor," the junior branch of the clan, and the origin of the surname, McCallion, which I'll refer to later. As to the name O'Duibhne, Carswell, the author of the Gaelic version of the Book of Common Prayer, dedicated that work to the Lord of Argyle, about the commencement of the seventeenth century, whose name was Gillespie O'Duibhne, so according to that the clan chiefs had retained the ancient name down to that period. Since that time we find no record of O'Duibhne being in use. McArthur was the senior ruling branch down to Mac Caillean Mor.

A branch of the McCallions had settled at an early period in Northern Ulster, principally in Donegal, so we find that in the Northern parts of that county, in the Inishowen districts in particular and Co. Derry, the name McCallion, and in the Southern parts of Tyrone, bordering Armagh, and particularly in the district of Blackwatertown, in Co. Armagh, the McCallions, another form of the name, have assumed the name of Campbell (Mac Caillean).

I may mention that some writers have confused the name McCallion with McAllen, which is a totally different name.

The Irish sept that have changed their name to Campbell is Mac Cathmhaoil (See Caulfield), which name is variously anglicised, namely, McCavill, McCawell, McCowell, Caulfield, M'Caulfield, Camill, M'Howell, McCamphill, Camphill, Cambell, Camble, and Campell. The Mac Cathmhaoil were lords of Kinel Fearadaigh in the barony of Omagh, Co. Tyrone, and held Ardstraw, Clogher, and other districts in the barony. Conor Mac Cawell was Lord of Kinel Fearadaigh in 1252 A.D., so the name is of early origin. The parish of Cloghernie (Termonmagurk, Carrickmore, Co. Tyrone), had many priests of the name; Neal McCamul, rector of Cloghernie died 1367. John Mac Cathmoyle, rector of Cloghernie, died 1440.

Arthur Mac Camhaill, Bishop of Clogher, died 1432. In 1395 Art Mac Camael, Bishop of Clogher, was engaged at Clogher building the Chapel of St. Macartan, the Abbey, Cathedral, and two Chapels. Hugh MacCawell, or as he was otherwise called, Mac Angel, Primate of Armagh, belonged to the Clan. He was previously Divinity Lecturer at Louvain, and published there, in 1618, a book called "The Mirror of the Sacrament of Penance." He died in 1626. We see herein the Co. Tyrone sept of Mac Cathmhaoil held a high position amongst the clansmen of Tyrone.

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