The surname of ESTCOURT was a locational name 'one who lived at the east-cottage'. The name was originally brought into England from France during the wake of the Norman Invasion, where it was anglicized to Scot and Scotson. It was originally an ethnic name for someone who settled in Scotland, or more commonly, for a Gaelic-speaker within Scotland. The Gaelic-speaking peoples in Scotland came originally from Ireland, and it is possible that their name is connected with Old Welsh YSGTHRU, meaning to cut or carve, referring to their habit of tatooing themselves with iron points. There is a manuscript of 1587 which says that a family spelling their name Schot were descended from Heinrich of Eysenrodt, who owned iron mills in the 12th century. He is said to have been a descendant of one of a group of Scotsmen, attendant on two noble ladies, who settled in a village in Franconia. The effigies of some of them can still be seen in the church in the village, which is called Schotten after them. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. There are places in England from where some of the early bearers of the name may have derived the surname including Eastcott in County Middlesex, and Eastcotts in Wiltshire. Where a man lived was his 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 Gundwinus de Estcota, 1190, Bedfordshire. Robert atte Estcote was documented in County Surrey in 1327. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. 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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