This English surname of CUTSHAW was a locational name for a dweller in or near CUDA'S shaw or thicket, or at the divided wood. It was also a baptismal name 'the son of Cuthbert' a north of England font name. St. Cuthbert (c635-687) was the Anglo-Saxon churchman and missionary, born probably in Lauderdale in the Scottish borders (then part of Northumbria). In 651 he was a shepherd boy there, and while watching his flock by night had a vision which made him resolve to become a monk. The same year he entered the monastery of Old Melrose and in 660 accompanied its abbot, St. Eata, to a new foundation in Ripon. He travelled widely in the north of England as a missionary and many miracles were reported. In 684 he was visited by the Ecgfrith, king of Northumbria, who entreated him to accept the bishopric of Hexham. He reluctantly complied, but thirsting after solitude at the end of two years he returned to a hermit's cell he had built, where he died. His fame during his life was great, but it became greater after his death, and many churches were named after him. His feast day is 20th March. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but most of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. The arms depicted here have been quartered with CUT and SHAW.
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