This Spanish and French surname of CUEVAS was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'one who came from CUEVAS' (caves) in Spain. It was also an occupational name for someone employed in, or in charge of the wine cellars of a great house. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CAVEA. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KAVE, LACAVE, CAVIER, CAVA, CAVARI, COBAS and CAVAL. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. A notable member of the name was Juan de la CUEVA (circa. 1550-1607) the Spanish poet and dramatist, born in Seville. He is known especially for his use of new metrical forms and his introduction of historical material into drama. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. 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.
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