The surname of FINCH was derived from the Old English word 'finche'. The name was probably brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Godric Finc who was recorded in County Norfolk in the year 1049. Philip Fynch, County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Agnes Finche of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Johannes Fynche, 1379 ibid. A notable member of this name was Heneage Finch Ist Earl of Nottingham (1621-1682), born in Kent. He was educated at Westminster and Christchurch, Oxford. He was called to the bar in 1645 after the Restoration as solicitor general. He took part in the trial of regicides (the killing of a king) and became attorney general in 1670. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th until the 15th century. They had not been in use in England before the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, when they were introduced into England by the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for a gentleman to have but one single name, as the meaner sort. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that it became general practice for all people. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that 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. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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