The surname of POTTVIN was a locational name from Poitou in France, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name literally meant 'the man from Poitou'. The earliest of the name on record appears to be PICTAUENSIS (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Peiteuin de Eya, was documented in County Suffolk in the year 1186. Rogerus Peteuinus le Esquier appears in Bedfordshire in 1247 and William Peytefin was recorded in Canterbury in the year 1279. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Later instances of the name include John Puddephatt and Mary Bedford who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1755. John Breech and Mary Puddephatt were married in the same church in 1785.
Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. The name has numerous variant spellings.
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