The surname of LONGESTAFF was a nickname for a sergeant or bailiff or another officer of the law who would have carried a long staff as a badge of office. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, 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. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name mention William Longstaff, 1273 Yorkshire. Hugo Longstaff was documented in the year 1210 in the County of Leicestershire. Edwin Langstaffe of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name mention John Longstaffe who married Elizabeth Blowe, St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1660. William Pricklowe married Barbara Longstaff, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1748.
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