The surname of WATT was a baptismal name 'the son of Walter'. It was one of the great fontal names of the 13th and 14th century, Wat being the popular nickname. The name was taken early to Ireland by settlers where it is numerous in north-east Ulster. Early records of the name mention William Wattes, 1273 County Oxford. Johannes Watson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Chamberlaine married Jane Watts, St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1598. 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.
When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. 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. James Watt (1736-1819) was the Scottish inventor of the steam engine. Isaac Watts (1674-1748) English writer of hymms and poems for children. George Frederick Watts (1817-1904) English painter of portraits and allegorical pictures.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
Arms registered in London.
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