This surname of CONINGTON is an ancient English place-name from CONINGTON, a place in Cambridgeshire. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form CUNICTUNE, literally meaning the dweller at the king's manor. The name was brought into England from Scandinavia during the reign of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and the earliest of the name on record appears to be CONINCTUNE (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. CUNITONE (without surname) was recorded in Cambridge in the year 1306. 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 William de CONYNGTON, who was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and William de CONITONE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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