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Botley Coat of Arms / Botley Family Crest

Botley Coat of Arms / Botley Family Crest

The surname of BOTLEY was a locational name 'of Botley' a spot in Berkshire. The name was derived from the Old English word BOTASLEA, and literally meant the dweller in a wood where the tenant had the right to take timber for repairs and firewood. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. Early records of the name mention BOTELIE (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1096. BOTTLEA (without surname) was documented in 1167, Berkshire. Mathew de Bothelehye of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). George Holland and Hannah Botlee were married in London in 1661, and Thomas Botteley was buried at St. Mary Aldermary, London in 1663. 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 flowing a draped garment worn over the armour. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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