The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. The surname of BURBIDGE was a locational name 'of BURBAGE on the Wye' a spot in County Derbyshire. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form BURHBEC, literally meaning the dweller at the brook or valley of the burg. The earliest of the name on record appears to be BUREBECHE (without surname) who was recorded in the year 1172 in County Derbyshire. BURBACHE (without surname) was recorded in 1200. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned. Later records mention Ralph de BUREBECH who was recorded in the year 1172 in the County of Derbyshire. William BURBIRDGE was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) in County Somerset, and Edward BURBRIDGE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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. 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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