The surname of HEADINGTON was a locational name 'of Headington' a parish in County Oxford, half a mile from the University city
Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Most of the place-names that yield surnames are usually of small communities, villages, hamlets, some so insignificant that they are now lost to the map. A place-name, it is reasonable to suppose, was a useful surname only when a man moved from his place of origin to elsewhere, and his new neighbours bestowed it, or he himself adopted it. Early records of the name mention Sibel de Hedindon who was recorded in the year 1273 in County Oxford. William de Hedindon was documented in Oxford in the same year. Johannes de Hedyngton of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Surnames as we recognise them today are believed to have been introduced by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The first mention of such names appears in the Domesday Book and they were progressively adopted between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was the nobles and upper classes who first assumed a second name, setting them apart from the common people who continued to use only the single name given to them at birth. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that is became common practice to use a secondary name, originally a name reflecting the place of birth, a nickname, an occupational name or a baptismal name which had been passed on from a parent to the child, as an additional means of identification. Later instances of the name mention Thomas Heddington who registered at Oxford University in 1597 and John Headington and Elizabeth Cummings were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1753. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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