The surname of FELDE was derived from the Old English word 'feld' the dweller by the field. It was a piece of land especially used for tillage or pasture and usually bounded by hedges. The name is also spelt FIELD and FELD. Local names usually denoted where a man held land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Robert de Felder 1185, County Gloucestershire. Hugo atte Feld, 1188 Bedfordshire. James atte Felde, was documented in the year 1327 in the County of Surrey. John in the Field, was recorded in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Stephen atte Felder of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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 name was taken to Ireland by settlers and in Gaelic is rendered as O'Fithcheallaigh, meaning the chess player. They were a sept of the Corca Laodhe, often abbreviated to Feely. The name appears in mediavel Irish records as de la Felde. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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