During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name MAISFIELD it was a locational name from places of the name in Staffordshire and Sussex. The name was derived from the Old English word MEGTHEFEUD, literally meaning 'the dweller at the field where mayweed grew'. The earliest of the name on record appears to be MEDEVELDE (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. MATHERFELD (without surname) was recorded in County Sussex in 1180. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A later instance of the name mentions Edward MAYFELDE of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
Registered at Cambridge, granted on the 9th October in the year 1684.
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