This French, Spanish, German, Italian and English surname of GULLETT was originally from the Norman form of an Old French personal name, composed of the Germanic element WIL (will, desire). The name was introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and within a very short period it became the most popular given name in England, in the form William, no doubt in honour of the Conqueror himself. The name has also enjoyed considerable popularity in Germany as WILHELM, France as GUILLAUME, Spain as GUILLERMO and Italy as GUGLIELMO, with numerous other variants. The name dates to Robertus filius Willelmi, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. John filius Willelmi of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. It was the name of four Kings of England, William I (1066-1087), the Conqueror, and the Duke of Normandy. William II. (1087-1100). William III. (1650-1702), and William IV. (1765-1837). 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. A notable member of the name was Joseph Ignace GUILLOTIN (1738-1814) the French physician and Revolutionary, born in Saintes. As a deputy in the Estates General in 1789, he proposed to the Constituent Assembly the use of the decapitating instrument, which was adopted in 1791 and was named after him.In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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