Very strange that you should at this very moment use the two words,
"scoloc" and "leigenn". They are of particular interest to me in the last
two days as I have just come across them in my research to find an eponymic
ancestor for the Livingstones (The Clan Mac Onlea) of Argyll. It has been
suggested by some historians that "Mac Onlea" is an anglicized version of
"Mac an Leigh", but with no historical record to help back them up. I think
I may have found that connection.
In MS 1467 there is a genealogy "Clann an Toisigh" (of Lorn) that has a
"Diarmad renarbarta an Fear Leighinn", son of Erc, grandson of Conlait, the
great grandson of Ferchar Fota - the King of Dal Riata who according to the
annals died in 697. This would date Diarmad to have lived in the latter
third of the 8th century.
I'm thinking that "an Fear Leighinn" could easily degenerate to "an
Leigh" or "Onlea" over the next 900 years. According to Skene, the Fer
Leigenn were the lowest ranking of the clerics in the Columban monastaries
that emerged in the 8th century to replace the "Scribhnigh" or Scribes. In
Pictland, these men came to be known as Scolocs. They aquired heritable
lands surrounding the monastaries and they provided housing and tillable
land for the students. And they were able to exact rents from the students
who attended these schools by providing such services.
Being that the MacOnleas of Lismore had such heritable lands adjacent to
the Abbey "for as long as any man can remember" according to their Charter
of 1544, it makes sense to me that thier name "MacOnlea" might bear a
relationship to such a "Fer Laigenn".
Have you any thoughts on the likelyhood of "an Fear Leighinn" evolving
into "Onlea" (pronouned, "An Lay")?