This name WILLEMS was introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and within a very short period it became the most popular given name in England, mainly, no doubt in honour of the Conqueror himself. The given name has also enjoyed considerable popularity in Germany as Wilhelm, in France and in Spain as Guillermo. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood to have a second name and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. WILLIAMS was a baptismal name 'the son of William' which was derived from the French GUILLAUME. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. For nearly eight centuries, William and John have raced for first place in popularity as a font name. The name dates to Robertus filius Willelmi, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. John filius Willelmi of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. It was the name of four Kings of England, William 1. (1066-1087), the Conqueror, and the Duke of Normandy. William 11. (1087-1100). William 111. (1650-1702), and William 1V. (1765-1837). 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. A notable member of the name was William of Newburgh (1135-1200) the English chronicler, perhaps a native of Bridlington. He was a monk of Newburgh Priory (Coxwold), and his 'Historia Rerum Anglicarum' is one of the chief authorities for the reign of Henry 11.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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