The surname of LEFEBVRE was derived from the Old French 'fevere' an occupational name meaning 'the smith'. Medieval smiths were important not only in making horseshoes, ploughshares, and other domestic articles, but above all for their skill in forging swords, other weapons and armour. The name was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066, where it settled and appears to be peculiar to County Norfolk. The name was originally rendered in early documents in the Latin form FABER. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Roger le Fevere, 1243, County Norfolk. Abraham le Fevre, 1248, ibid. Thomas Feavour of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard Feveryere (gent) was recorded in Norfolk in the year 1622.
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.
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