The surname of AIKETT was a locational name 'at the oak-head' from residence thereby, the top or furthest reach of trees. The name is a variant of Akenhead. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Early records of the name mention Gilbert de Lakenhead of Lanark, rendered homage for his lands in 1296. In 1327 the lands of Akynheuide in the sheriffdom of Lanark were confirmed to John de Maxwell by King Robert II. In the same year Convallus de Akinhead witnessed a grant of the lands of Auchmarr. Johannes de Aykehened, of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William de Akinhede was a notary public in Irvine in 1444. In 1489 remission was granted to three individuals named Akynhed who, with a number of others held the Castle of Dumbarton against the King. Between the 11th and 15th centuries, surnames were assumed in Europe, but were not in use in England or Scotland before the Norman Invasion of 1066. Those of gentler blood assumed second names at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) that they became common practice amongst all people. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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