The surname of TELFAIR was derived from the Old French TAILLEFER. This surname seems to have originated in the Lowlands and has worked its way across the border into Northumberland. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Early records of the name mention Laurence Talliefere, a Scottish merchant who was granted a safe conduct into England in 1464. Thomas Tailyefeir was burgess of Stirling in 1476. The most famous of the name was probably Thomas Telford (1757-1834), Scottish civil engineer, designer of numerous roads and bridges (notably the Menai Bridge) and the Caledonian Canal. The name is also spelt TELFORD, TAILFAIR and TAILFER. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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