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Clan Laing


Laing is an ancient descriptive name, being a reference to 'long or tall'.  The names Layng, Laying, Laing, and Lang have been interchangeable through much of Scottish history. The family seems to have originated in the northern reaches and islands some time towards the end of the eighth century as Norse and Picts intermixed.

Black lists Thomas Laing as promising that Dumfries would pay part of the ransom for the return of David II from England in 1357.

John Layng, the Rector of Newlands, Rose to be Bishop of Glagow and treasurer to James III between 1473 and 1474.

Sir Neill Layng (1520-1584), a knight of renown is mentioned in historic records.

John Layng, was Keeper of the Signet 1583-1609, and was  buried in Greyfriars churchyard.

As a Highland Clan of the 13th through the 18th centuries, the Laings were found from coast to coast across the width of Scotland.  Highly mobile and of large numbers they could march from adjoining areas to fiercely defend a benefactor.  These included the Leslies, Gordons, Colquhouns and the Robertsons, and later the Gayers.  The home territory of the Highland Laings is reputed to have been the area known as Laing-Gordon.

The name is found frequently in the protocol books of the diocese of Glasgow in the 16th century.

Malcolm Laing was a lawyer and historian from Orkney.  He was admitted to the Scottish Bar in 1785. He published a history of Scotland in 1800, and the poems of the Celtic bard, Ossian, with notes and illustrations in 1805.

Major Alexander Laing was a well known 18th century African explorer.  He is best remembered for penetrating to the almost legendary city of Timbuctoo in 1826.  Arriving in West Africa in December of 1825 he shortly set off into the desert in January 1826.   He finally arrived in Timbuctoo on 18 August, having survived the privations of the desert and attacks by Tuareg tribesmen. He remained for about a month but on his return journey he was murdered by his guides.

The Reverend Cosmo Gordon Lang of Scottish ancestry, was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1928 to 1942.  He officiated at the coronation of George VI and was raised to the peerage as Baron Lang of Lambeth in 1942.

The above information comes from the Clan Laing Association


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