This surname MACDAVITT with the prefix mac, is usually a County Mayo surname, a variant of MacDevitt. It is also the name of a branch of the Connacht Burkes. The meaning of the name is 'the son of David'. At first, Irish surnames were formed by prefixing Mac to the father's Christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or earlier ancestor. Names with the prefixes, will be found in the records relating to centuries before the 10th century. The name has been perennially popular in honour of the biblical king of the name, the greatest of early kings of Israel, and led to this being a given name throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Its popularity increased in Britain firstly by virtue of its being the name of the patron saint of Wales (about which very little is known); he was probably a 6th century monk and bishop, and secondly because it was borne by two kings of Scotland (David I reigned 1124-53 and David II 1329-71). Its popularity in Russia is largely due to the fact that this was the church name adopted by St. Gleb (died 1015) one of the two sons of Vladimir, duke of Muscovy, who were martyred for their Christian zeal.
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. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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