The earliest known instance of this name AUGUST was St. Aurelius Augustinus, also known as Augustine of Hippo (354-430) the greatest of the Latin church fathers. He was born in Tagaste in Numidia which is modern Tunisia. His father was a pagan but he was brought up a christian by his devout mother Monica. After living a fairly racy youth, he embraced christianity fully, and was baptised, together with his son, by St. Ambrose in the year 386. His monumental opus was the City of God which he wrote between 412-27. His namesake St. Augustine was the first archbishop of Canterbury circa. 596. He was prior of the Benedictine Monastery of St. Andrew in Rome, when in 596, he was sent with forty other monks by Pope Gregory I. to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. Landing in Thanet, the missionaries were kindly received by Ethelbert, King of Kent, whose wife Bertha, daughter of the Frankish King was a Christian. A residence was assigned to them at Canterbury, where they devoted themselves to monastic exercises and preaching. He was extremely successful in his mission, and it is recorded that in one day Augustine baptised one thousand persons in a day in the river Swale. He died in 604, and in 612 his body was transferred to his abbey of St. Peter and St. Paul. 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. As a christian name this was very popular during the middle ages, although rare as a surname. The name meant 'sacred or venerable'. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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