This surname of KORTH is of two-fold origin. It was an English habitation name from COURTENAY in Loiret or Gatinais, both named from a Gallo-Roman landlord CURTENUS, a derivative of the Latin word CURTUS. The name is also spelt CORT, COURT, COURTNEY, CORTNAY and KORTE. An Anglo-Irish family associated with west England can be traced back to Courtenay, near Sens in northern France, which was fortified by Athon, Sire de COURTENAY, about the year 1010. Renaud de COURTENAY fled from France to England circa. 1150 and acquired lands in Devon by marriage. He was a nephew of the Crusader Joscelin de COURTENAY (died 1131) and uncle of the Peter de COURTENAY (died. 1218) who in 1216 was elected Emperor of Constantinople. They hold the title Earls of Devon in direct descent from Hugh de Courtenay, who married Margaret de Bohun, granddaughter of King Edward I in 1325; his title was recognised in 1335. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. 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 family name was Leonard Henry COURTNEY (1832-1918) born in Penzance. He was educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, made a fellow in 1856. He was called to the bar and became professor of political economy at University College, London. He wrote for The Times, and represented Cornish constituencies from 1876-1900, where he held minor offices.
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