The Italian surname of LAVECCHIA was derived from the Old French VEEL - meaning calf, and was a name given to one who took care of the calf-herd. The name was originally rendered in its Latin form of VETUS, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. According to tradition this name was taken by various Jewish families long established in Italy (allegedly since the capture of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70) to distinguish themselves from later arrivals who migrated there on being expelled from the Iberian Peninsula after 1492). The name is also spelt VIEIL, VIEUX, DELVECCHIO, VEGGI, LO VECCHIO and VELLETT. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is often assumed that men 'adopted' their surnames. Some certainly did, but the individual himself had no need for a label to distinguish him from his fellows. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each knight owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized. Monasteries drew up surveys and extents with details of tenants of all classes in their services. Any description which identified the man was satisfactory, his father's name, the name of his land, or a nickname known to be his. The upper classes mostly illiterate, were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary. Early records of the name in England mention Richard le Vele of the County of Somerset in 1270. Thomas le Veel of the County of Sussex in 1296. Edward Veele of the County of Gloucestershire, was registered at Oxford University in 1576. Thomas Veale of the County Lincolnshire, ibid. Margaret, daughter of Thomas Veale was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1673. James Hall and Martha Veall were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1790. 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.
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