This long-established surname is of early medieval Scottish origin, and is a territorial name from the old barony of Allardice in the parish of Arbuthnott, Kincardineshire, believed to be so called from the Middle English "aller" (Olde English pre 7th Century "alor"), alder, and an uncertain second element, thought to be the Gaelic "deas", south (facing). Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. A quotation from a Scottish genealogical magazine reads, "It (Allardyce) is not a very common name, but all who hold it believe in their descent from the old family which was settled for so long a period on the banks of the Bervie Water". The Castle of Allardice is situated one mile north west of Bervie. In 1296, one Walter de Allerdas rendered homage to Edward 1, King of England, and David de Allyrdas was scutifer to the duke of Albany in 1413. Another early namebearer, Sir James Allirdes, was clerk of the king's treasury and archdeacon of Murray in 1478. Alexander Allardyce (1846 - 1896), an author and editor, noted in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was educated at Aberdeen, and subsequently engaged in journalism in India. The Allardyce Coat of Arms is a silver shield with a red fesse wavy between three boars' heads erased, the Crest being a naked man from the middle holding in the dexter hand a scimetar all proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Allyrdas, which was dated 1294, in the "Episcopal Register of Aberdeen", during the reign of John Balliol, Ruler of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.