The surname of SWINDLES was a locational name 'of Swindle' a district in the parish of Cheadle, East Cheshire. A branch of the family of Howford held a small estate here in the 14th century and called themselves 'Swyndelves'. There is also a place so called, a chapelry in the parish of Shap, County Westmorland, from where original bearers may have taken their name. The earliest of the name on record appears to be SWINDYLE (without surname) who was documented in Cheshire in 1195. Most of the place-names that yield surnames are usually of small communities, villages, hamlets, some so insignificant that they are now lost to the map. A place-name, it is reasonable to suppose, was a useful surname only when a man moved from his place of origin to elsewhere, and his new neighbours bestowed it, or he himself adopted it. Other records of the name mention Roger Swyndell who was recorded in the year 1522 in East Cheshire. Humfrey Swyndell married Isabell Woorthe, at Prestbury Church, County Cheshire in 1561. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. Later instances include Ursula Swendalls who was baptised at St. James's Church, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1656. John Swindell and Lydia Mullins were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1790. 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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Last Updated: January 15th, 2021
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