The surname of GALAN was derived from the Old French 'galante' a nickname given to one who was dashing, spirited and bold. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Surnames as we recognise them today are believed to have been introduced by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The first mention of such names appears in the Domesday Book and they were progressively adopted between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was the nobles and upper classes who first assumed a second name, setting them apart from the common people who continued to use only the single name given to them at birth. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that is became common practice to use a secondary name, originally a name reflecting the place of birth, a nickname, an occupational name or a baptismal name which had been passed on from a parent to the child, as an additional means of identification. Early records of the name mention Galan (without surname) 1210 County Essex. Thomas Gallaunt, 1273 County Suffolk. Edward Gallant of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
Claudias Galen (130-201) was the Greek physician, born in Pergamum in Mysia, Asia Minor. He studied medicine there and at Smyrna, Corinth and Alexandria. He was chief physician to the gladiators, and moved to Rome, where he became friend and physician to the emperors. For many centuries he was considered the standard authority on medical matters. The name has many variant spellings which include Gallan, Gallen and Galland. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from 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 gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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