The surname of NORCOTT has the associated arms recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Hayne County Devon. An old established Devon family of this name trace their descent from Galfridus Miles, who was living in the county, in the manor of Northcote in 1103. In 1885 they were granted the earldom of Iddesleigh. Northcott is a local name from Northcote a hamlet in the parish of East Downe County Devon. Early records mention Amyas de Northcote, Devon, 1273 and William de Northcotes of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Norcott was documented in County Somerset in the year 1381. Family names are a fashion we have inherited from the times of the Crusades in Europe, when knights identified one another by adding their place of birth to their first or Christian names. With so many knights, this was a very practical step. In the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries the nobles and upper classes, particularly those descended from the knights of the Crusades, recognised the prestige an extra name afforded them, and added the surname to the simple name given to them at birth. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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