The surname of ELDER was a nickname 'the elder'. The name has become strongly established in Yorkshire, since the 12th century. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Ricardus de Elder, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edric de Elderer of the County of Yorkshire in 1442. John Eldare de Corstorfin was burgess of Edinburgh in 1423. John Elder a renegade Scot, urged Henry VIII to invade Scotland, assuring him of the support of the Highland Clans. Thomas Elder and Jone Gibbs were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1643. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people.
The arms were registered at Fairfield, County Lanark in 1869.
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