During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name WESTOVER it was a locational name from a place of the name, a thithing in the parish of Wherwell, near Andover in Hampshire. The earliest of the name on record appears to be William WESHIVERE, who was documented in County Somerset during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Ivone ESTHOVERE, was recorded in the same year in Hampshire. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Later instances of the name include William WESTOVER and Alice Young, who were married in London in the year 1572, and James WESTOVER of County Devon, registered at Oxford University in the year 1602. William WESTOVER and Amy Ranes, were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1732. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. The arms depicted here have been quartered with WEST and OVER.
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