The surname of CULLEN was a locational name 'of Cullen' in Banffshire, Scotland. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. Early records of the name mention Bertram de Coloigne, 1307 Scotland. John de Culayn, 1447 Yorkshire. John Cullen married Mary O'Neil at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1795. The two main homes of the surname are Norfolk and Devon. In the former county the first known bearer of the name is recorded at Forncett St. Peter in 1404, as Ricardus Cullyng. A note in the parish register of Woodlands, Devon, records the death in 1509 of William Culling the ninth, which would take the line back to the late 13th century. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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