This English and French surname of ARMESON is from the Middle English and Old French given names 'ARMIN' and 'ERMIN' derived from the Germanic element 'ERMIN'. This seems to have been the name of an ancient Germanic god but in later times it was also used in various compound names with the meaning 'whole' or 'entire'. It was also a baptismal name 'son of Armand'. Other English spellings of the name include ARMISON, ARMES, (Norfolk) and ARMINSON. A French variant is 'ARMINOT'. Early records of the name list ERMYN Donetoun,(l327) county Cambridgeshire. Hervicus ERMIN (l279) of county Oxfordshire was recorded in the year 1304 and Edward ARMSON of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas ARMYN appears in the year 1482 in county Yorkshire. Robert ARMISON (l669) county Yorkshire. Another instance of the name was John Holliday and Mary ARMSON who were married at St. Georges' Chapel, Mayfair, London in l749. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteen centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the l9th century, but the norm is that people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise, so it became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests and to paint their shields with animals and such like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most worn in Coat-Armour.
In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms.
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