The surname of GERRISH was a locational name 'of Jervaulx' a now extinct place in Yorkshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was also used as a nickname for 'one who was showy and resplendent in his dress'. 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. 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. Early records of the name mention John filius Gervacii, 1273 County Cambridge. Geruasius et Uxor of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Baptised. Elizabeth Jervice, St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1560. Richard Chandler married Winifred Jervoise, at Canterbury in Kent in 1662. The name has many variant spellings which include Gerish, Gerrishe, Gerras and Gerres. 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. The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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