The surname of CONGREVE was locational name of 'Congreave', a variant of the name Greaves meaning a glade or lane cut through the trees or forest. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Mark Conigrave, or Cunygrave who was registered at Oxford University in 1556. William Congreve [1670 - 1729], the dramatist, was born at Bardsey, near Leeds. John Congrave and Elizabeth Orton were married in Canterbury in 1667. Thomas Congreve and Mary Oades were married at St.George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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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