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Napier Coat of Arms / Napier Family Crest

Napier Coat of Arms / Napier Family Crest

This surname NAPIER comes from an office attached to the Royal Court. The name is also spelt NAPP, NAPPE, NAPPER and NAPIER. In England in the reign of Henry I, William de Hastings held the manor of Ashele in Norfolk by the service of taking charge of the napery, ie. tablecloths and linen at the coronation of the English kings. The first record of the name in Scotland is circa 1290 when John Naper obtained from Malcolm, earl of Lennox, a charter of the quarter-land called Kylmethew. This John Naper is included in the inhibition by the bishop of Glasgow directed against Malcolm, earl of Lennox and his adherents in 1294. Alexander Naper was one of the commissioners for concluding a peace between Scotland and England in the year 1451. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Notables of the name include John NAPIER (1550-1617) the Scottish mathematician, the inventor of logarithms, born at Merchiston Castle, Edinburgh. Macvec NAPIER (1776-1847) was the Scottish lawyer and editor, born in Glasgow. In 1799 be became Writer to the Signet in Edinburgh. He edited the supplement to the fifth edition of the 'Encyclopaedia Britannica' (1816-24, the seventh edition (1830-42) and from 1829 the 'Edinburgh Review'.


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last updated on: April 3rd, 2017

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