This surname of NETHERWAY was a locational name meaning 'the dweller at the nether way' - the lower road. The name appears as NETHERGATE in ancient documents. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Gundwyn de NETHERGATE, who was recorded in County Suffolk in the year 1273, and Wacelin de NETHERGATE was documented in the same year. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Later instances of the name include Charles NETHWAYE, who was buried at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1651, and John, son of John NETHERWAY was baptised at the same church in 1651. Jonathan NETHEWAY and Mary Clarke, were married at Canterbury, Kent in 1682. John Kelly wed Susannah NETHERWAY at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1796. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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