The surname EDWARDS was derived from the Old English EADWEARD - the name means 'prosperity guard'. Early records of the name mention Eaduuardus (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. William Edward was documented in the year 1219 in County Suffolk. Adam Edward of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edwards was a very popular personal name. Edward the Confessor (1284-1327) preceded George as Patron Saint of England causing the name to become a favourite. John Edwardson of Bold, Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Chester in the year 1594. Richard Edwards and Elizabeth Harford were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1600. The name was taken to Scotland by settlers was Watty Edward was a tenant of part of the burgh of Kethik in 1504. Thomas Edward was a merchant burgess of Linlithgow in 1637. John Edward was a tanner burgess of Edinburgh in 1722. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. 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. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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