DUNLAP is a well known Ayrshire surname, derived from the land of Dunlop in the district of Cunningham. In about the middle of the last century the name was locally pronounced Delap or Dulap. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. 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 first record of the surname appears to be in 1260 in which year dominus Willelmus de Dunlop is recorded as a witness. The original document does not exist but a notarial copy was made in 1444. In 1296 Neel Fitz Robert Dunlop appears and Nel de Dunlopp is recorded in an inquest held at Berwick on the lands of Lady Elena la Zouch circa 1300 and Constantyn Dunlop is mentioned in 1496. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered at Rosebank, County Lanark in 1792. 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.
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