The surname of WESTAL was from the lands of Westhall in the parish of Oyne, Aberdeenshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. Early records of the name mention Archibald de Westhall or Weschell, who had a charter of lands of Ouyn in the lordship of Garrioch from David II. Richard atte Westhall was recorded in 1272, and Edward Westhall of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Later instances of the name include Owen Westall who registered at New College, Oxford in the year 1564, and Jerome Westall and Margaret Lewes were married at Westminster, London in the year 1590. James Flintoff and Martha Westall were wed at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1793. A Mr Westall killed Captain Gouraly in a duel at North Queensferry on October 30th in 1824. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Pinkney Green, Maidenhead, County Kent. 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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