The surname AKEROYD was derived from the Old English word 'acrod', the dweller by the clearing. A Yorkshire surname. 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.EM Early records of the name mention AKROYD (without surname) listed in 1273, County Somerset. William Ackeroyd was documented in Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1317-1377). William Ackroyd of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Hugo Aikroide, 1612 in Yorkshire. Christopher Acred, 1721 ibid. James Galliere Vareilles and Faith Aikeroyd were married in Canterbury, Kent in the year 1687. The name has many variant spellings which include Ackroyd, Akeroyd and Ecroyd.
During the 11th until the 15th century it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, although at that time they were not commonplace in England or Scotland. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until Edward 111. (1327-1337) came to the throne, did it become common practice for 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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