The surname of SIDDONS has the associated coat of arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. A notable member of the name was Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) the English actress born in Brecon, the eldest child of Roger Kemble, manager of a small travelling theatrical company of which Sarah was a member from her earliest childhood. In 1733 she married her fellow actor William Siddons. Her first appearance at Drury Lane in December 1775 as Portia, was unremarkable, but her reputation grew so fast that in 1782 she returned to Drury Lane and made her appearance in October. Her success was immediate and from then on she was the unquestioned queen of the stage. 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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