During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name BREDA it was a locational name from a place called BREDE in County Sussex. The name was derived from the Old English word BRAEDU, literally meaning the dweller at the flat expanse of land. The name was brought into England during the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Brian de BREDE who was documented in County Norfolk in the year 1195, and William de BREDES appears in Sussex in 1296. John le BREDA was recorded in the same year. 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, a 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. Later instances of the name mention Elena atte BREDE who was recorded in Kent in 1317, and Marjery BREDA appears in Colchester, Essex, in 1352. 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. 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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