The surname of PARSONS was an official name 'the parson' one who lived and worked at the parsonage. The name was brought to England from France in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066 and the earliest of the name on record appears to be PARSONE (without surname) who was recorded in 1086 in County Kent. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday book. Other records of the name mention William Persons, 1273 County Norfolk. John Parson County Yorkshire, ibid. John Person, of County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). John Parson was the rector of Yaxham, County Norfolk in the year 1425. John Wilson and Helen Parson were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1581. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. A notable member of the name was Sir Charles Algernon Parsons (1854-1931) the Irish Engineer, born in London, 4th son of the 3rd Earl of Rosse. He was educated at Dublin and Cambridge, became an engineering apprentice, and in 1884 developed the high-speed steam turbine. He built the first turbine steamship the 'Turbinia' in 1897. 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 arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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