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Defoe Coat of Arms / Defoe Family Crest

Defoe Coat of Arms / Defoe Family Crest

This surname of DEFOE was originally a French topographic name for someone who lived by a beech tree or beech-wood, originally rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form FAGUS. The name has travelled throughout Europe in many forms which include FEY, LE FAOU, DUFUA, DUFFEAUX and DESFAUX. 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 Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685.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. Daniel DEFOE (1660-1731) was the English author and adventurer, born in Stoke Newington, London. He was the son of a butcher. He appears to have travelled widely on the Continent, before setting up in the hosiery trade in London in 1683. He joined King William III's army in 1688. In Queen Anne's reign he ran into trouble with his famous satire 'The Shortest Way with the Dissenters' (1702), which cost him imprisonment during the Queen's pleasure. In Newgate he managed to continue his pamphleteering. He was released in 1704. He was a writer of astonishing versatility, and the founder of British journalism. He published more than 250 works. 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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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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