The surname of HEATHER is a variant of the name Heath, and was derived from the Old English word 'heao' the dweller by the heath, from residence nearby. It may also be a habitation name from any of the various places for example in Bedfordshire, Derbyshire, Hereford, and West Yorkshire, named with this word. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention John de la Heth, 1248 County Essex. John Henry le Hether appears in 1327 in County Surrey, and Edward atte Hethe was documented in 1332 in Suffolk. William atte Heth was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Robert del Heth of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Robert Chambers and Helen Heath were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1577. Baptised. Fraunces Heath, St. James's, London in 1585. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as 'de', 'atte', 'by' or 'in'. The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status.
A notable member of the name is Edward Richard George Heath, born in 1916, the Conservative statesman, and Prime Minister from 1970 until 1974. 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 arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at counties Derby and Surrey.
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