The surname of NIXON was originally an English, name which is now found in Ulster, where it was brought by settlers from England in the 17th century. They established themselves principally in counties Fermanagh and Cavan. The name was popular among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, largely as a result of the fame of a 4th century Lycian bishop, about whom a large number of legends grew up, and who was venerated in the Orthodox Church as well as the Catholic. East European forms of this name are spelt with the initial M, as Mikulas in Poland. The name was sometimes borne by women in the Middle Ages. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. 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. 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 nomenaclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The arms are registered at County Fermanagh. Confirmed to Brinsley de Covecy Nixon Esq. and the descendants of his grandfather the Rev. Brinslet Nixon, rector of Painstown, County Meath.
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