The surname of DEMERS was an official name, meaning a judge, one who administrated justice. The name was common in Scotland for a judge of the Parliament, shire, or a bailie. The surname is not uncommon in England, where the term was replaced by the Anglo-Norman-French name of Judge, but relatively frequent in Scotland, where until 1747 every laird of a barony could have certain offences within his territory tried by his 'dempster', and on the Isle of Man, where 'deemsters' also played an important part in the administration of justice. Early records of the name mention Haldan Deemster who was documented in the year 1296 in Scotland. Walter Demester was recorded in 1313 County Lancaster. The burghs of Scotland owe much of their prosperity to the large immigration of foreigners which went on during the 12th and 13th centuries. The original founders of the towns, were in many cases wanderers from Flanders, who brought with them their habits of industry and knowledge of trade and manufactures. Settlers of this description came in great numbers to England in the reign of Henry 1. (1100-1135) and when Henry 11 (1154-1189) drove all foreigners out of his dominions they flocked into Scotland, where a more enlightened policy made them welcome. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The lion is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour. Later instances of the name include Bessie Demster, who is in record in the parish of Rerrick in 1684, and Thomas Dempster (historian) died in 1625. George Dempster (1755-1818) the agriculturist was a distinguished member of the name.
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