This surname of WINDOWS was of the occupational group of surnames, meaning a worker at the winding-house, the place where skilled weavers worked. The name was derived from the old English word WYNDHOWS. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state.
Early records of the name mention William de Wyndhows of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Thomas Wyndhouse appears in Yorkshire in the year 1431. William Wyndhowes was recorded in 1485, and William Wyndes was documented in 1530. The last three of the name mentioned were all weavers. When the coast of England was invaded by William The Conqueror in the year 1066, the Normans brought with them a store of French personal names, which soon, more or less, entirely replaced the traditional more varied Old English personal names, at least among the upper and middle classes. A century of so later, given names of the principal saints of the Christian church began to be used. It is from these two types of given name that the majority of the English patronymic surnames are derived and used to this day. Most of the European surnames 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. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Windus).
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last updated on: September 13 2018
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