The surname of ATHERSMITH was an occupational name 'a maker of iron-arrow tips'. This is an occupative surname that is listed in many ancient documents. Early records of the name mention Henricus Arusmyth, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Arrowsmith, ibid. Stephen Arrowsmith was documented in County Lancashire in the year 1488. John Arrowsmith was the curate of Lynn in County Norfolk in 1643. Noble, son of Robert Arrowsmith (butcher) was baptised at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1748. 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 Invasion of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of nobler blood recognised the practical advantage and prestige in having a second name as it added to their status. A notable member of the name was Aaron Arrowsmith (1750-1823) the English cartographer, born in Durham. In about 1770 he went to London, and by 1790 has established a great map-making business. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered in County Lancashire.
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