The surname of DAWSON was a baptismal name 'the son of David', from the nickname Daw, an ancient a still popular personal name which has been perennially popular in honour of the biblical king of the name, the greatest of early kings of Israel, and led to this being a given name throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Its popularity increased in Britain firstly by virtue of its being the name of the patron saint of Wales (about which very little is known); he was probably a 6th century monk and bishop, and secondly because it was borne by two kings of Scotland (David I reigned 1124-53 and David II (1329-71). Early records of the name mention Thomas Daweson of Wakefield, County Yorkshire in 1326. Richard Dauewesone of Wales was documented in the year of 1332. Johannes Dauson of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Walterus Daweson, ibid. John Daweson was a merchant in the service of the Earl of Douglas in 1405. Duncan Dalsoun was coalman to the King of Scotland in the year 1531. John Dawson and Nicholas Dauson were tenants in Uchtermukty, Scotland in the same year. Thomas Dasone was the baillie of the burgh of Anstruther Wester in the year 1671. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. 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. This English name was taken to Ireland by settlers, and families have been prominent in counties Monaghan and Tipperary since the mid-seventeenth century.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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