The surname of COUSSENS was derived from the Old French 'cusin' a kinsman or kinswoman. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Aethelstane Chusin AD 977 Canterbury, Kent. Roger Cusin, was documented in the year 1166 in the County of Norfolk. Thomas Cossin of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William le Cusyn, ibid. Edmund Cosin was Vice-chancellor of Cambridge University in the year 1558. Samuel Cousins (1801-1887) was the English engraver, born in Exeter. In 1814 he was apprenticed to Samuel William Reynolds and in 1826, started his own account and produced the 'Master Lambton' which at once established his reputation. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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