The surname of CHAMPION was an occupational name 'the champion' a soldier, a warrior, the winner in village sports. The name was derived from the Old French word Campion. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Prior to the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, no one had surnames, only christian or nicknames in England. Based on this, and our physical attributes, we were given surnames incorporating tax codes to show trades, areas in which we lived, as today we have street names and numbers. Surnames were used in France and like speaking countries from about the year 1000, and a few places had second names even earlier. Even early monarchs had additions to show attributes and character, for example Ethelred (red-hair) the Unready (never prepared). Edward I was named 'Long shanks' because of his long legs, and Richard III was called 'Crouchback' owing to his deformed shoulder. Early records of the name mention Henry de Champiun, during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272). Hugo Champyon of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Manser and Alyce Champion married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1592. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The eagle depicted in the arms is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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