The surname of ORR is a common Scots surname, the name of an old Renfrewshire family. This is a Scottish toponymic which has been in Ireland since the 17th century; it is prominent in north-east Ulster. The name is also spelt ORRE, ORRES and ORES. Early records of the name mention Hew Orr who rendered homage in 1296. Four persons of the name were summoned to answer charges made against them by the Abbott of Paisley in 1503. In England the name was locational meaning 'the dweller who lived on the shore or the edge of a hill' from residence nearby. There is a place Ore in Sussex, and Oare in Berkshire, from where the original bearer may have derived his name. 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. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. 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. Hugh ORR (1717-1798) born in Lochwinnoch, Ayrshure, emigrated to the United States in his 20th year, and took an active part in the Revolutionary War by casting guns and shot for the Continental Army, and encouraging the manufacture of edge tools.
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