The surname of FLORENCE was a locational name 'one who came from Florence in Italy'. The name was derived from the Latin 'Florentia' meaning blooming. The name was borne by several early Christian martyrs, and in the Middle Ages the name was used of a man. 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 Florentius (without surname) 1130, County Suffolk. Richard Florentia was documented in County Oxford in the year 1220. Gilbert Florence was recorded in 1250, County Suffolk, and Bartholomew de Florence was documented in 1273, County Yorkshire. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. A notable member of the name was Florence of Worcester who died in 1118. He was the English chronicler, and monk of Worcestershire. He wrote a CHRONICON which comes down to the year 1116, and which, in about the year 1030 becomes of some value as an independent authority. It was edited in 1848, translated in 1847 and again in 1853.
The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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