The name, which means 'son
of Fearghal', is documented in the twelfth century. Sir John Makirel fought at the Battle
of Otterburn in 1388, capturing the brother of Sir Harry Percy (Hotspur). Sir John's
descendant, Martin McKerrell, is described as 'in Hillhouse' at the end of the fifteenth
century. Among others in Ayrshire, the estate was formally confirmed to William
MacKerrell, 1st Laird of Hillhouse, by James VI in 1589.
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