The surname of WELTY was a baptismal name 'the son of Walter'. This personal name was introduced into England in the reign of the Confessor - the name meaning mighty army. Early records of the name mention Walterus (without surname) was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Edmund filius Walter of the County of Cambridgeshire in 1273. William Walters of the County of Staffordshire in 1327. Charles Walter was registered at Oxford University in 1598. John Walters and Grace Plumer were married at Canterbury in 1663. 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. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. 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 is also spelt WALTHER, WATTER, WAULTER, WOLDER, WOLDERS and WALTER to name but a few. 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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