The surname of AMASS was a baptismal name 'the son of Amias'. The name was originally derived from the Old French given name AMI meaning blessed, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The name is also spelt Amyas and Ames. Early records of the name mention Amass de Cotehal, 1273 County Buckinghamshire. Robert Amiass of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Amass was rector in a small village in County Norfolk in 1448. Francis Amyas married Anne Antill, in London in the year of 1631. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but they were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II. (1327-1377) that it became common practice for all people. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter that 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. 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.
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