The surname of PADILLA is a Spanish habitation name from any of the various places so named, in the provinces of Burgos, Guadalajara and Valladolid. They were originally named from the Spanish word 'padilla' frying-pan, bread-pan, and rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form PATELLA. 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. In the 8th century, Spain fell under the control of the Moors, and this influence, which lasted into the 12th century, has also left its mark on Hispanic surnames. A few names are based directly on Arabic personal names. The majority of Spanish occupational and nickname surnames, however, are based on ordinary Spanish derivatives. A notable member of the name was Juan de PADILLA (1490-1521) the Spanish rebel and popular hero. He was commandant of Saragossa under Charles V, headed an insurrection against the intolerable taxation, and after some success was defeated and beheaded. His wife, Maria (died 1531) held Toledo against royal forces from 1521 to 1522, and then fled to Portugal. Heraldry arrived in America with the coming of the Spanish. English heraldry predominated in North America, the first grant being in l586 to the City and Corporation of Ralegh in Virginia, relating to the first English Settlement on Roanoke Island, now situated in North Carolina. Heraldry was mostly dormant in North America until l694, when the first North American resident, Francis Nicholson, received a grant of Arms. Soon after, the University (the College of William and Mary) received its own grant. Not until the present century has an agreement been reached whereby the English Kings of Arms were allowed to issue grants of honorary armorial bearings to American citizens able to prove male-line descent from a British subject.
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