The surname of BARRANS is of Dutch origin, a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Barend' a form of Bernhard or Bernard which means 'bear-hard.' The Dutch language is most closely related to Low German, and its surnames have been influenced both by German and French naming practices. The preposition 'van' is found especially with habitation names, and the 'de' mainly with nicknames. Early records of the name mention Bernardus (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1086 the compilation of the Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqueror (1027-87), king of England from 1066. He was born in Failaise, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, by Arlette, a tanner's daughter. On his father's death in 1035, the nobles accepted him as a duke. When Edward the Confessor, king of England died in 1066, William invaded England that Autumn, on 14th October, 1066 killing Harold (who had assumed the title of King). English government under William assumed a more feudal aspect, the king's tenants-in-chief and all title to land was derived from his grants, and the Domesday Book contains details of the land settlements, and the names of the owners of such. Thomas Berande, 1260 County Yorkshire. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets 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. 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.
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