The surname of DUCKWORTH was a locational name 'of Duckworth' an estate in Oswaldtwistle, a township in the parish of Whalley, County Lancashire. Local name usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. 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 earliest document relating to the name says 'In the reign of Edward III (1327-77) Richard de Radcliffe held two carucates of land in Oswaldtwisle and Duckworth, at that time called Dokeward'. Henricus de Dukeworth of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Dukeworth, 1379 ibid. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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.
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