This English surname of SMATHERS was an occupational name for a smith or a worker in metals. The smith was one of the most important men in medieval Europe. He served both the lord and the peasants. It was his duty to shoe the lord's horses, mend and sharpen his plows and make all the metal objects that were required. For these duties he would receive certain honours such as charcoal and wood from the lord's forest and the right to have his land ploughed by the lord's plows. He also did work for the serfs in the manor, from whom he would receive payment. Henry II of England in 1181, ordered every holder of land worth ]10 a year, to provide himself with a coat of mail, a helmet, a shield and a lance, and many smiths were required to make these articles. The name is also spelt SMOTHERS, SMEATHERS, SMITHEMAN, SMITHERMAN and SMITHMAN. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Robert SMYTHYMAN, who was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377), and Henricus SMYTHMAN of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Later instances of the name include Francis Ketelby and Mary SMITHEYMAN, who were married at Westminster, London in the year 1624, and John SMITHYMAN and Ann Austen were wed at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1717. The eagle depicted in the arms is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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