The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. A notable member of this name was Johann Albrecht BENGEL (l687-l752) the German theologian, born in Winnenden, in Wurttemberg. He was the first Protestant author to treat the Exegesis of the New Testament critically in l734. The name was probably brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. It was a baptismal name 'the son of Beringer'. Early records of the name mention Berenger Giffard, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Robertus Filius Berengarii was recorded in London in the year 1150 and Belingar (without surname) was recorded in Dorset in 1207. Berenger le Moine was documented in County Northampton in the year 1273. William Berenger of County Somerset was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Berenger de Todeni of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
The word Heraldry is derived from the German HEER, (a host, an army) and HELD, (champion): the term BLASON, by which the science is denoted in French, English, Italian and German, has most probably its origin in the German word 'BLAZEN' (to blow the horn). Whenever a new knight appeared at a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet, and as competitors attended with closed vizors, it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called 'Heraldry'. The Germans transmitted the word to the French, and it reached England after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
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