This surname GOLLAN is of Breton or Cornish origin, from a Celtic personal name, rendered in Old Breton as IUDICAEL, and composed of the elements meaning 'lord, generous, bountiful'. The name was borne by a 7th century saint, a king of Brittany, who abdicated and spent the last part of his life in a monastery. Forms of this surname (of which there are many) are found in medieval records, not only in Devon and Cornwall, where they are of native origin, but also in East Anglia and even Yorkshire, whither they were imported by Bretons after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Early records of the name mention Warin filius Juelis, County Devon in 1273. William Juel of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Jowell, sheriff of Norwich in 1486. William Joel was recorded in County Huntingdonshire, 1400 and Johel de Bukyngton, was documented in the year 1479 in the County of Oxford. John Joel and Elizabeth Hippeth were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1723. William Gibb and Mary Joel were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1789. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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