The surname of GUADREAU was a baptismal name 'the son of Walter'. The name is also spelt GALTERS, GUALTER, GAULTIER, GAUTHIEZ, WALTIER, WALTER, WALZEL, WAUTERS and VAUTROT, to name but a few. This personal name was introduced into England in the reign of the Confessor - the name meaning mighty army. Early records of the name mention Walterus (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Edmund filius Walter of the County of Cambridgeshire in 1273. William Galters of the County of Staffordshire in 1327. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Later instances of the name include Charles Walter who was registered at Oxford University in 1598 and John Walters and Grace Plumer were married at Canterbury in 1663. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour.
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