The surname of BENGE was of the baptismal group of surnames 'the son of Ben' from the name Bendedict. This medieval given name owes its popularity in the Middle Ages chiefly to St. Benedict (480-550) who founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino and wrote a monastic rule that formed a model for all subsequent rules. No doubt the meaning of the Latin work also contributed to its popularity as a given name, especially in Romance countries in the 12th century. The Latin form of the name is found in England alongside versions derived from the Old French form Beneit, Benoit, which was common among the Normans. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. Early records of the name mention Robert Benge of County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). William Benge was listed as one of the earliest inhabitants of the newly settled Virginia, arriving from England on the ship the 'Marygold' in 1619. 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.
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