This surname of ROSTHORN was of the locational group of surnames, originally from Rostherne in Cheshire, so called from the Old Norman byname RAUOR (red) and TORN (thorn-bush). The name literally means the dweller by the thorns. A family of Rosthernes seem early to have removed into the neighbouring county of Lancashire, and settled in the district around Bury, thence distributing themselves over the country. The name still holds a good position in County Lancashire. It was brought into England and Scotland in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Scottish surnames fall into two quite distinct groups; those of Gaelic origin and those of English origin. The Gaelic language was brought to Scotland from Ireland around the 5th century AD, displacing the British language (an early form of Welsh) previously spoken there as well as elsewhere. Gaelic was the main language of that part of Scotland not subject to English influence, a rather more extensive area than the present day Highlands and Islands, where Gaelic is still spoken in places. It is from these northwestern and western area of Scotland that surnames of Gaelic origin, now almost universally Anglicized in form, have been disseminated around the world. Early records of the name mention Richard de Routhesthorn, who was documented in 1246, and William Rosterne appears in Cheshire in the year 1273. Roger de Venables (parson of Roustorn) was recorded in 1399. William Rawstorne (gentleman) of County Lancashire was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1545, and John Rawstorne of Chester, registered at Oxford University in 1610. Lawrence Rowsterne of Warrington appears in the Exchequer Depositions in the year 1684. 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.
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