The surname of FRENCH was derived from the Old English word Frencisc, the name given to a Frenchman, an immigrant from France, and was brought into England during the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name was taken to Ireland by settlers of Norman origin, Anglo-Norman settlers of the name having established themselves in County Wexford, where the name still survives. From that county a branch of the family went to Galway early in the 15th century where they prospered and multiplied so that their descendants soon came to be numbered among the so-called Tribes of Galway. Early records of the name mention Simon le Frensch, 1273 Wales. John le Frenche, was recorded in the year 1278 in County Lancashire. Walter le Ffenshhe of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Frenche married Cicilie Sysley (widow) at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1564. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Irish bearers of this name are said to be descended from Theophilus de Frensche, a Norman baron who accompanied William the Conqueror, a branch of whose descendants settled in Wexford circa. 1300. Some of the same family settled in Roscommon circa. 1620, and this was the branch that produced Field Marshall Sir John French (1852-1925) commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force during World War I. Most of the European surnames 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 coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard
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