The surname of SLYMAN was a baptismal name 'the son of Solomon' an ancient but now forgotten font name. The name was fairly widespead in the Middle Ages among Christians, and has for generations been a popular Jewish name. It was also used early as a nickname for a man who was considered to be wise, and for one who played the part of King Solomon in an early miracle play. The name was also a nickname for the cunning and sagacious man. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The earliest of the name recorded appears to be Thomas Sleman who was documented in 1277 in County Wakefield, and Auicia Scleyman appears in County Cornwall in 1327. Thomas Slyman of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Other records of the name mention Henry Sliman, who registered at Oxford University in the year 1588. Mary Slyamn was buried at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1741.
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