This surname of CRESS was of the locational group of surnames 'of Cressy' a spot in France. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest. The name literally meant the dweller by the stony ground. 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. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention Hugo de Creisdi, documented in 1171, County Lancashire. Beatrix de Cressdie was recorded in Lancashire in the year 1200. Beatrix Crecy appears in London in the year 1273, and Edwin Cressin of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Walter Cresset was recorded in County Lancashire in 1400. 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.
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