This surname of GUNNAR was derived from the Old German GUNTER - meaning 'battle army'. The name was originally derived from the Norman personal name GONTIER, composed of the Germanic elements GUND and HARI.The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and the earliest of the name on record appears to be Gunter (without surname) who was listed as a tenant, who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Gunterus of the County of Northumberland in 1094. William Gunter of the County of Berkshire in 1205. John Gunter of the County of Oxford in 1273. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people.
Later instances of the name mention Edmund Gunter the English mathematician recorded in 1581-1626 and Mr William Gunther, Central Works, Oldham, exhibited 'four turbines' at the Manchester Exhibition in July 25th 1887. 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.
Arms registered in Riestaps Armorial General.
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