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Clewley Family Crest / Clewley Coat of Arms

Clewley Family Crest / Clewley Coat of Arms

SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. CLEWELY was a locational name 'one who came from Cluley' the hollow or ravine, the name of a place in Cheshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name has many variant spellings which include Clewler, Clulow, Cluley, and Cluelow. Early records of the name mention Edric de Clewleye, 1273, County Yorkshire. Ralph Hordern and Anne Cluley were married at Prestbury Church, Cheshire in the year 1615. Elizabeth Clewly and John Paine were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1648. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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. 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 and draped garment worn over the armour.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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