The surname of KIMBERLY was a locational name 'of Kimberley' a spot in County Norfolk. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. It was also used as a female personal name CYNEBURH, composed of the elements cyne (royal) and burh (fortress, stronghold). This name was borne by a daughter of the 7th century King Penda of Mercia, who, in spite of her father's staunch opposition to Christianity, was converted and founded an abbey, serving as its head. She was venerated as a saint in the Middle Ages and children were named after her. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Thomas de Kymber, 1338, County Norfolk. Edward Kimbere of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Kymber was documented in the year 1450 in County Sussex. John Neave and Thomasine Kember were married in London in the year 1617, and Thomas Kimber wed Alice Hastings at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1736. George Mansfield married Elizabeth Kember at the same church in 1780. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that 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.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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