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Virgoe Coat of Arms / Virgoe Family Crest

Virgoe Coat of Arms / Virgoe Family Crest

The surname VIRGOE was of uncertain origin. The surname in England coincides in form with the Latin 'Virgo', maiden, from which is derived the modern English 'virgin'. It is possible that the surname was originally a nickname for someone who had played the part of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a mystery play. This, and the vernacular variants, may also have been nicknames for shy young men, or possibly ironically for notorious lechers. Early records mention Simon Virg in 1275, County Kent and Isabella Virgo in 1428, County Warkwickshire. The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another. Later records mention William Virgin, of the County of Essex, who married Lettice Sheppie in London in 1581. John Virgin of County Somerset registered at Oxford University in 1587. John Vergine and Margaret Barrows were married at St. James's Clerkenwell, London in 1610, and John Virgin and Lenia Harrington were married in the same church in 1637. George Wellen married Mary Virgin at St. George's, Hanover Square in 1800. 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: May 9, 2020

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