MAIRES was the designation of an officer who executed summonses and other legal writs. Those who held hereditary appointments were termed 'mairs of fee'. In the Act of 1426 the mair is described as the 'kings sergeant'. Early records of the name mention Robert le Mare who witnessed a charter early in the 13th century. John Mair, a Scottish merchant was granted a safe conduct to travel into England in 1453. 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. A notable member of the name was John MAIR (1470-1500) the Scottish scholastic theologian and historian, born in Gleghornie, near North Berwick. He studied at Oxford, Cambridge and Paris, and lectured in scholastic logic and philosophy at Glasgow in 1518, St. Andrews (1522) and Paris (1525). 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. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms.
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