This English surname of VESSEL was an occupational name for a maker or seller of household vessels, or a name for a pedlar. The earliest merchants were the itinerant pedlars who carried their stock of goods strapped to their backs. They called upon castles, manor houses and cottages. They often congregated at the church on Sundays to exhibit their wares. The king exercised the power of licensing the right to hold a fair or market which was profitable to the lord and trader alike. The more established traders were attracted to the larger cities, where they grew wealthy and became respected citizens. There were many traders and merchants during medieval times because usually the man who made the article or grew the crop was the dealer. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. Other spellings of the name include VESSELO and VESSELL. 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. Early records of the name include William John le VESSELER, who was recorded in the year 1296 in County Sussex and Edward VESSELL was documented in Yorkshire in 1379. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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