Girdlestone Coat of Arms / Girdlestone Family Crest
This is a locational name, seemingly of Gridleston, some small place in County Somerset. It is almost certain that the original spelling of the name was Gridel, and it occurs frequently with this spelling in medieval documents. The earliest of the name recorded appears to be Robert Gridel of County Somerset, who appears during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Thomas Gridestone was documented in County Somerset in 1400. A locational name usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The original bearer would take his name from the village, town or the area where he dwelt. This name would identify his whole family, and would follow them wherever they moved. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage that it would add to their status. Later instances of the name mention Henry Gurdelston and Joannah Busbey, who were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in 1698. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered to Samuel Girdlestowne Esq. of Chester Terrace, Regent's Park, London.
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