The surname of BARNFIELD is of English origin, a locational name 'the dweller in the barn beside the fields, from residence therein'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned.
An eminent member of the name was Richard Barnfield (1574-1672) the English poet born in Norbury, Shropshire. He studied at Brasenose College in Oxford, and died a country gentleman. He is known for his pastoral poems like 'The Affectionate Shepherd (1594) and 'Cynthia, with certain Sonnets (1595). The name is also spelt Barnefield.
The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
Arms registered at Newport, County Salop, and of Devonshire.
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