This German surname of ERBEN was of the Norman personal name 'Ivo' in origin a short form of any of the various Germanic names with a first element 'iv' (yew, bow) (a weapon generally made from the supple wood of the yew tree). This was a popular name in Normandy and Brittany and was introduced into England at the time of the Conquest. There was a bishop of Chartres called St.Ivo (d.lll5) and a l3th century Breton saint of this name came to be recognised as the patron of lawyers. St. Ives in Cambridgeshire gets its name from a church dedicated to a legendary Persian bishop who is said to have become a hermit there. The more famous St. Ives in Cornwall is named from a 5th century female Irish saint more accurately known as IA. Yet another St. Ives, in Hampshire, did not originally commemorate a saint at all but is named from a derivative of Old English 'ifig' (ivy). There are many ways of spelling this name, amongst which are YVES, YVON, IVAIN, IWE, YVELIN and YVENEC (Brittany). 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. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General registered in Strasbourg.
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