At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served as 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.
The surname of DE COLLA was derived from the Old English word Col - a nickname for one with a swarthy complexion. It was an aphetic pet form of Nicholas, found in several European languages. The name was borne by a Warrior in Celtic mythology. The name was popular among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, largely as a result of the fame of a 4th century Lycian bishop, about whom a large number of legends grew up, and who was venerated in the Orthodox Church as well as the Catholic. East European forms of this name are spelt with the initial M, as Mikulas in Poland. The name was sometimes borne by women in the Middle Ages.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
Early records of the name mention Cole (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Colle Serviens was documented in 1100 in County Yorkshire, and Robert Coule appears in 1126 in County Yorkshire. Cole filius Lanteril, was documented in the year 1145 in the County of Kent. Johannes Cole of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Cowl is mentioned in County Suffolk in the year 1568, and Bazill Beconn married Anne Coale at St. Michael's, Cornhill, London in 1588. Thomas Coles and Honour Birde were married at the same church in the year 1665.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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