This surname of ARMFIELD was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'the dweller at the poor field' a non-productive area. The first element of the name may belong to the Old English EARN 'wretched' perhaps in the sense outlawed, if so, meaning 'the wood used by the outlaws. The name was probably brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066 and is also spelt AMFIELD, ARMFELD and ARMFELT. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. a famous member of this name was Gustaf Mauritz ARMFELT (l757-l8l4) Swedish soldier and statesman, born in Finland. In the service of Gustav III, he fought in the war against Russia (l788-90) and negotiated the peace. He was a member of the regency council after Gustav's assassination (l792). He conspired with Catherine II, the Great of Russia in support of Gustav II, Adolf, and became his ambassador to Vienna (l802-04) and his army commander in Pomerania against Napoleon (l805-07). After the deposition of Gustav in l809 he was expelled in l8ll by Karl XIII and went to Russia, where he entered the service of Tsar Alexander I and became governor of Finland, recently acquired from Sweden. 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. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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