The surname of WALDEN was a locational name 'of Walden' a well known and ancient town in County Essex, now Saffron Walden. There are also two parishes in county Hertfordshire which gave rise to the surname. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he held his land: this name identified his whole family and followed him wherever he moved. It could have been his place of birth, or the name of his land-holding. Early records of the name mention Alice de Waledene, 1273 County Cambridge and Richard de Waledene of the same time and place. Thomas Waldyng and Johannes Waldyng of Yorkshire were both listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Walden of Cheshire, registered at Oxford University in 1573. 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. A later record includes Paul WALDEN (1863-1957) who was a Russian chemist born in Wenden, Latvia. Known for discovering and giving his name to a type of optical isomerism (Walden inversion). Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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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