The surname of DYCHES was a locational name 'the dweller by the ditch' from residence nearby. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was derived from the Old English word DICHE. The medieval dyke was larger and more prominent than the modern ditch, and was usually constructed for purposes of defence rather than drainage. 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 best 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. Early records of the name mention John Dicher, 1210, County Essex. Simon le Dykere, 1296, County Sussex. Absolom in le Dyche appears in County Cambridge in the same year, and Alicia in the Diche was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during the Invasion of 1066 were of three kinds. There were names of Norse origin which their ancestors had carried into Normandy; names of Germanic origin which the Frankish conquerors had brought across the Rhine and which had ousted the old Celtic and Latin names from France, and Biblical names and names of Latin and Greek saints. These names they retained even after the customs and language of the natives of Northern France had been adopted by them. After the Norman Conquest not only Normans, but Frenchmen and Bretons from other parts of France settled in England, and quite a few found their way north into Scotland. A later instance of the name refers to Daniel Dyche and Mary Ramsden, who were married at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1723. 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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