The surname of LATHON was a locational name 'of Lathom' a chapelry in the parish of Ormskirk, County Lancashire. The name is also spelt LATHOM, LATHAM, LATHON, LETHOM and LETHON. Early records of the name mention Henry de Latham, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Johannes de Lethom was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Lathom of County Lancashire, registered at Oxford University in 1605. A locational name usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The original bearer would take his name from the village, town or the area where he dwelt. This name would identify his whole family, and would follow them wherever they moved. 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 that it would add to their status. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The crest is depicted in the ancient windows of Astbury Church. In an old Visitation of the county of Lancashire, in the College of Arms, it is stated that a child was found in an eagle's nest upon the estate, and adopted by one of the Lathams. This, it is assumed, was the origin of the crest.
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