The German surname of DENGER was an occupational name for a knife-sharpener, originally derived from the Old German word TENGELEN (to sharpen instruments such as large knives, sickles and scythes). The name is also spelt TENGELER, TENGLER and TENGELMANN. It was in the cities and large towns that the various workers in metal of one kind or another developed. Protected and matured by the craft guilds they formed in the Middle Ages, they rose in rank above the peasants in the country districts. They were considered to be highly skilled craftsmen. Men did not hesitate to engage in fierce combat during this time, and they desired as much armour and strong weapons as possible. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. The word Heraldry is derived from the German HEER, (a host, an army) and HELD, (champion): the term BLASON, by which the science is denoted in French, English, Italian and German, has most probably its origin in the German word 'BLAZEN' (to blow the horn). Whenever a new knight appeared at a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet, and as competitors attended with closed vizors, it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called 'Heraldry'. The Germans transmitted the word to the French, and it reached England after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
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