The surname of GENTLE was a nickname 'one with well polished manners and a courteous attitude'. The name was derived from the Old French GENTIL, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention William le Gentil, 1273, County Yorkshire. William Gente of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward 111. (1327-1377). Agnes Gent of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Gentleman and Mary Allin were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1663. John Gentleman and Mary Allin were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1762. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.
The name was taken to Scotland by early settlers and eight of the name are recorded in Dunblane and the neighborhood in the 17th and 18th centuries. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Doddinghurst and Steeple Bumstead, County Essex. (Gent).
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