The surname of ARRINGTON was of two-fold origin. It was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'one who came from Arrington' a spot in County Cambridge. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form EARNATUN, and the earliest of the name on record appears to be EARNNINGTON (without surname) who was recorded in the year 950 in Cambridge. ERMINGESTRETE (without surname) was documented in 1090. 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 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. The name was also a given name from the Old English EARNA meaning 'Eagle'. Early records of the name mention William de Arrington of the County of Lancashire in 1202. Ricardus de Arryngton was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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. The name is also a variant of the name Harrington.
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