The surname of ORVIN is of territorial origin, the name of an old parish in Dumfriesshire. The name is also spelt ERVIN, ERVINE, ORVINE and URWIN. The earliest of the name on record there is Robert de Hirewine, a charter witness in 1226. William de Irwyne. Clerk of Register, obtained the Forest of Drum, Aberdeenshire, from Robert I in 1324, and was thus ancestor of the Irvines of Drum. In 1331 he had another charter of lands from Alexander, bishop of Aberdeen. Alba, the country which became Scotland, was once shared by four races; the Picts who controlled most of the land north of the Central Belt; the Britons, who had their capital at Dumbarton and held sway over the south west, including modern Cumbria; the Angles, who were Germanic in origin and annexed much of the Eastern Borders in the seventh century, and the Scots. The latter came to Alba from the north of Ireland late in the 5th century to establish a colony in present day Argyll, which they named Dalriada, after their homeland. The Latin name SCOTTI simply means a Gaelic speaker. Later instances of the name include Cristopher Urwen who was recorded in Northumberland in 1547, and Thomas Davis and Thomasine Urwin were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1752. Thomas Reading and Isabella Irwing were married at the same church in 1759. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Gardiner Green and Elizabeth Clark were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1800, and their witness was George Erving. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. 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.
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