This surname of HARRIS was originally an English name, taken to Scotland by settlers. They are a sept of the Campbell of Argyle Clan. The name was baptismal 'the son of Henry'. 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'.
Both Harris and Harrison are extremely common English surnames; the former tends to be more common in the West Midlands and South West England, whereas the latter is commonest in the North of England. A large and influential American family are descended from Benjamin Harrison, who emigrated from England to Virginia in 1633 or 1634. Ancestors include another Benjamin Harrison (1726-91) who was an activist in the American Revolution and a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. His son William Henry Harrison (1773-1841) and great grandson Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) both became president of the United States.
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.
Early records in Scotland mention Sir Laurence Harryson, a native of Scotland, who had letters of denization in England in 1479.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
The arms depicted are of Campbell of Argyll.
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