The surname of MYERSCOUGH was derived from the Old English word 'myre' and it was a locational name meaning 'the dweller by the swampy, low-lying lands'. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. There was a place in Lancashire so called from the Old Norman word MYRRSKOGR, from where the original bearer may have derived his name. Early records of the name mention Richard de Mirescroft, who was recorded in the year 1273 in Lancashire and David Mire, documented during the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Willelmus del Mire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard Myres of Preston, was listed in the Wills at Richmond in 1670. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers, and David in the Mire, a Scots prisoner taken at Dunbar Castle in 1296, obtained his freedom in the following year to serve the English King abroad, and appears to be the first of the name on record in Scotland. Alexander Myr witnessed a charter by the abbott of Inchaffray in the year 1453 James Myr held land in Brechin in 1508. 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. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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