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Keely Coat of Arms / Keely Family Crest

Keely Coat of Arms / Keely Family Crest

The surname of KEELY was a locational name 'of Keal' parishes in County Lincolnshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Early records of the name mention Robert de Kele, County Lincoln, 1273. William de Kele, County Lincolnshire, ibid. Thomas Keale of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Sebastian Keele of County Buckinghamshire, registered at Oxford University in the year 1579. Robert Keale of County Essex, and Elizabeth Smythe of London, were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1598. Henry Thomas Keele was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1604. Henrie, son of Thomas Keale was baptised at the same church in the year 1618. The name has many variant spellings which include KEAL, KEEL, KELLE and KEALE. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour, the knight could be identified and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.


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Last Updated: January 15th, 2021

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