This surname of BLEVINS was from the Welsh given name BLEIDDYN, originally derived from the elements BLAIDD (wolf) and YN (often used in Medieval Welsh as a term for a hero, and sometimes for a cruel man or an enemy who feigned friendship. The name is also spelt BLETHYN, BLEVIN, PLEAVINS, PLEADON and PLEVINS. Fixed hereditary surnames began to be taken in Wales after the administrative union with England in the 16th century. At first, however, this development was confined to the classes who had dealings with the English bureaucracy, and the adoption of surnames did not become general until the 18th century and after. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but most of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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