During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name CHEW, it was a locational name from a place named CHEW in County Somerset. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form CEO, and literally meaning the dweller at the settlement where small birds were found. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Randal de CHIWING who was recorded in County Somerset in the year 1201, and Geoffrey CHIUE was documented in 1203 in County Cornwall. The name is also spelt CHEWING, CHEWE and CHOWING. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Later instance of the name mention Robert CHEW of Billington, who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1591, and Theordore Hanley and Jane CHEWE at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1603. John CHEW wed Janes Gifford at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1766. 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. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (CHEW).
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