The surname of FORTUNE was a locational name from the lands of Fortune in East Lothian, now represented by East and West Fortune. John de Forton was servant of the abbot of Kelso, circa. 1200. Josce de Fortun witnessed confirmation by Nesus de Lundr of a mill in Lynton in the reign of Alexander II in 1233. John de Fortone was one of the Scots prisoners in the Tower of London in 1297. Thomas Fortoun was tailor and burgess of Edinburgh in the year 1634.
Robert Fortine (1813-1880) the distinguished botanist and traveller in China, was born in Berwickshire. The surname is not uncommon in the Lothians and in Fife. 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'. 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. The name has many variant spellings which include Fortun, Fortone, Forton and Fortoun. 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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