This French surname of AU BUCHON was a locational name meaning 'the dweller at the beech-trees', from residence nearby. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected. This name is also spelt AUBUSSON. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A notable member of this name is Pierre de AUBUSSON (l423-l503) who was a French soldier and prelate, and Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers from l496. His outstanding achievement was his magnificent defence of Rhodes in l480 against the besieging army of lOO,OOO Turks under the Sultan Mohammed ll. In l48l he made a Treaty with the Turks with the new Sultan Bayezit ll, by agreeing to imprison the Sultan's rebellious brother Djem; in l489 he was created Cardinal for handing Djem over to Pope Innocent Vlll. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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