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Gumbley Coat of Arms / Gumbley Family Crest

Gumbley Coat of Arms / Gumbley Family Crest

During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the surname GUMBLEY it was a locational name from a place named GUMLEY in County Leicestershire. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form GUTMUNDESLEA, and literally meant the dweller at the leah of GODMUND. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion and the first of the name on record appears to be GODMUNDESLAECH (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Later instances of the name include GUMBLEYE (without surname) who was recorded in 1197, and Durandus GUMBOLDUS appears in Hampshire in 1216. William GUMBLEY of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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