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 MAPLESDEN it was a locational name from MALLESDEN, a locality to be found somewhere in County Kent. The earliest of the name on record appears to be William de MAPPLESDEN, who was recorded in Kent in the year 1273, and Stephen de MAPPLISDEN was documented in 1279. 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. Later instances of the name mention Gervase MAPLESDEN, who registered at Oxford University in the year 1600, and Walter Croxton and Mary MAPLISDEN, were married in Canterbury in 1660. (No church recorded). Benjamin Fissenden and Elizabeth MAPLESDEN of Maidstone, were married at Canterbury Cathedral in 1687. 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 are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in County Kent. 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.
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