The surname of AKENHEAD was a locational name 'of Aikenhead' the old barony in Lanarkshire. Gilbert de Lakenhead of Lanark, rendered homage for his lands in 1296. In 1327 the lands of Akynheuide in the sheriffdom of Lanark were confirmed to John de Maxwell by King Robert II. In the same year Convallus de Akinhead witnessed a grant of the lands of Auchmarr. William de Akinhede was a notary public in Irvine in 1444. In 1489 remission was granted to three individuals named Akynhed who, with a number of others held the Castle of Dumbarton against the King. The use of fixed surnames or descriptive names appears to have commenced in France about the year 1000, and such names were introduced into Scotland through the Normans a little over one hundred years later, although the custom of using them was by no means common for many years afterwards. During the reign of Malcolm Ceannmor (1057-1093) the latter directed his chief subjects, after the custom of other nations, to adopt surnames from their territorial possessions, and there created 'The first erlis that euir was in Scotland'. 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 rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
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