The surname of HEARL was an official name 'the earl' or Court Baron, but like most title names it was usually a nickname. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. This name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and ERLE (without surname) was recorded in 1066. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France 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. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. Other records of the name mention Roger le Erle, County Cambridge, 1273. Robertus Erle was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In Ireland an Earl family settled there in the 13th century, but they are not associated with any particular area. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884
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