A landowning family of this name, originally from HEATON in the parish of Lonsdale, Lancashire, can be traced to the 12th century. Another landowning family bearing the name can be traced to HEATON-under-Horwich in Lancashire in the 13th century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. 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. HEATON was a locational name from Heaton, an ancient parish in Bradford, Yorkshire. Early records of the name mention Radulfus de Heaton of the County of Lancashire in 1273. Alicia de Heaton of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edric del Heaton of the County of Yorkshire was documented in the year 1448. The name is very familiar to South Lancashire and East Cheshire. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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