The surname of BLACK was a nickname 'one with a swarthy complexion and dark hair'. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Hamo le Blake, 1272 County Buckinghamshire. Reyner le Blacke was documented in County Norfolk, in the same year. William de Blake, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Edericke le Blacke, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Allin Blake married Dorothy Peregrine at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1783. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. This English and Scottish surname (connected with three clans - Lamont, MacGregor and MacLean is very numerous in Ulster where it was taken by settlers. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames. They came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were in being before the year 1000. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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