This surname ARTIST was a baptismal name 'the son of Arthur' an old and favourite font name. This name has been continuously in use as a given name since the early Middle Ages. Owing its popularity to the legendary exploits of King Arthur and his round table, which gave rise to a prolific literature in many Western European languages, starting with Welsh. Virtually nothing is known of the the historical figure who lies behind the legends beyond the fact that he was probably a British leader in the sixth century, who fought victorious battles against the Saxon invaders. The name has absorbed the Scandinavian name ARNOORR, which comes from the elements ARN (Eagle) and THOR the name of the God of Thunder.
Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but 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 (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Early records of the name mention Thomas Artice who was buried at St. Antholin, London in the year 1619. Peter le Royre Mortimer and Sarah Artsun were married at the same church in the year 1649. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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