The surname of FOUNTAIN was a locational name 'at the fountain', from residence thereby. The name was brought in from France during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name was originally in the Latin form of FONTANA. Early records of the name mention Adam de la Funteyene of the County of Norfolk in 1273. Geoffrey de la Fountain was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Geoffrey and Joan Fowntayne were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1592. 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. A notable member of the name was Marquis de Louis Fontanes (1757-1821) the French writer and politician, born in Niort. In 1777 he went to Paris and acquired a reputation by his poems. In 1810 he entered the senate and was raised to the Peerage by Louis XVIII. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. 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. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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