The surname of DEWHIRST was a locational name 'of Dewhurst' a spot in County Lancashire. The name was derived from the Old English word DEWHYRST, literally meaning the dweller at the wooded hills. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village early times, has served to name many families. Early records of the name mention Adam del Dewyhirst, County Lancashire, 1332. Ellen Dewhurst of Spotland, County Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Chester. John Boyle married Agnes Dewhurst, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1788. 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 name is also spelt Dewhirst and Dewherst. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Arms registered in County Middlesex.
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