The surname of ELSHAM was a locational name 'of Elsham' a parish in County Lincolnshire, five miles from Glandford Bridge. Local names derived from a place name indicating where the man held his land, and where he actually lived. 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. Early records of the name mention Robert Elsone who was documented in the year 1273 in the County of Kent. Thomas Elson of Lancashire, was recorded during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Hugh de Elsam of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A later instance of the name mentions Alander Cooper who married Elizabeth Elsam at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1665. The name is also spelt Elsom and Elsome. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066. 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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