The surname of DEAN was a locational name 'the dweller at the dene' from residence near or in a valley. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention DENE (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was documented as DENA (without surname) in Bedfordshire in 1193. Thomas de la Dene, County Hertfordshire, 1273. Johanna del Dene of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John le Dene was documented in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Richard Deane (1610-1653) was an English parliamentry commander. During the civil war he commanded the parliamentry artillery in Cornwall and at Naseby (1645). He was a commissioner at the trial of Charles I. and one of the signatories of the king's death warrant. Later he held commands on both land and sea. He was major-general at the battle of Worcester (1651) and commander-in-chief in Scotland. He was general at sea with Robert Blake at the battle of Portland (1653) and was killed in the battle of Solebay later that year. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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.
Arms registered to the Rev. John Dean, D.D. Principal of St. Mary's Hall Oxford, and rector of Oulde, County Northampton.
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