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Oxford Coat of Arms / Oxford Family Crest

Oxford Coat of Arms / Oxford Family Crest

During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name OXFORD it was a locational name from the place so named in Oxfordshire. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form OXENFORD, literally meaning the dweller near where the oxen were kept. The Latinisation OXONIA was frequently used in the 12th and 13th centuries. The earliest of the name on record appears to be OXNAFORD (without surname) who was recorded in the year 912, and OXENEFORD (without surname) was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A later instance of the name recorded William de OXENFORD of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Thomas OXFORD and Ollie Woollridge were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1763, and Thomas OXFORD and Anne Thomas were wed at the same church in the year 1779. The name is also spelt OXENFORD.


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Last Updated: May 9, 2020

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