The surname of WALDO was a baptismal name 'the son of Walter'. The name was derived from the Old Norman name Valporfr, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Walteif (without surname) listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Wallef filius Arnabol was recorded in Scotland in the year 1153. Adam Walthef, was documented in County Yorkshire in 1219. Thomas de Walthe of County Sussex, was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield, and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The name has many variant spellings which include WALTHEW, WALDIE, WALDE, WATTHEY, WADDY, WADEY, WADIE, WEALTHY and WILTHEW. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, 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. Registered at Nantwich, County Chester. A notable member of the name was Peter Waldo (or Valdes) born circa. 1175 the French religious leader, born in Lyon. A merchant to trade he became a preacher in Lyon (1170) and practised voluntary poverty.
He was eventually excommunicated and banished from Lyon in 1184 with followers, who because of their vow of poverty were known as 'The Holy Paupers'. They eventually became known as 'The Waldenses'.
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