SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. 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. CUTTING was a baptismal name 'the son of Cuthbert' an ancient font name. The name was originally spelt as Cuting. Early records of the name mention William Cutting, 1221, County Norfolk. Richard Cutting was documented in County Essex in the year of 1235. Edward Cutting of Yorkshire, was recorded in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The name was borne by a 7th century bishop of Hexham, and later of Lindisfarne, and remained popular because of his cult throughout the Middle Ages, especially in North England and the lowlands of Scotland.
The diminutive CUTHBE is rare and apparently confined to a small area on the Suffolk-Essex border. It first occurs in this form in the early 19th century; a century earlier the forms Cuthbert, Cutbee and Cutbie are all used of the same person. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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