The surname of BALMFORTH was a locational name 'of Bamford' a township in the parish of Middleton, near Bury, County Lancashire. 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. The estate of Bamford was granted to Thomas de Bamford, by Sir Adam de Bury, during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272) for his homage and services. Early records of the name mention Richard de Bamford, 1273 County York. Adam Bamforth of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Bamford of the parish of Bury in Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Chester in the year 1602. Henry Bamford married Elizabeth Beckett at St. George's. Hanover Square, London in 1738.
This is one of the English surnames now numerous in Ulster, though not sufficiently well established to be classed as a principal name in the census of 1659. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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