The surname BOOTHE was a locational name 'the dweller at the booth' a hut or cottage. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The surname is found in several parts of Scotland. The ship of Walter de La Bothe, merchant of Aberdeen was plundered at sea by the English near Yarmouth in 1273. Rogerus del Bothe, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Nicholas de Botha was proprietor of a land in Dundee in the year 1381. Odo de la Booth was the bailiff of Norwich in 1391. George Booth married Mary Silver at St. Mary, Aldermary in London in 1711. Barton Booth (1681-1733) English actor, was the son of a Lancashire squire. He was educated at Westminster, then became an actor and played with success for two seasons in Dublin. His performance as Cato in Addison's tragedy in 1713 brought him wealth and fame. Sir Felix Booth (1775-1850) was the English distiller, who contributed 17,000 pounds to Jame Ross's Arctic expedition (1829-1833) and after whom the Boothia Felix peninsula was named. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain 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. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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