This Welsh surname is found in all four provinces of Ireland but was commonest in Munster. There certainly were a number of immigrants of the name who settled in Ireland like the Vaughans from Pembrokeshire who established themselves in County Offaly but while some Vaughans in Ireland will be of such settler stock others are descendants of Irish families who assumed this surname. The O Beachain family from County Clare who gave their name to the townlands named Ballyvaughan in Owney and Arra barony and in Iffa and Offa East barony, County Tipperary, took Vaughan as the English form of their name. Ireland was one of the earliest counties to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Sir John Vaughan (1603-74) was the Welsh lawyer and politician born in Trawsoed, near Aberystwyth, Cardinganshire. He was educated at Christ College, Oxford and the Inner Temple. He sat in Parliament from 1640, but withdrew into private life after the execution of Charles I. A Royalist, he was elected to parliament again in April 1661, and promotion to the Court of Common Pleas was accompanied by a knighthood. The Welsh family of Vaughan have held the same estate, Trawsoed for almost 800 years. They are said to have originated with Adda Vychan, who married the daughter of Ievan Goch in the year 1200. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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