The surname PORTS was a nickname for a carrier. The Old French porteur 'porter' carrier of burdens. The name is also spelt POUTIER, PORTEIRO, PORTNER, PORTEAU, PORTEROT, PORTERON and PORTERAT. Early records mention Willelmus PORTARIUS (Janitor) in ll83 (Berkshire) and William la PORTIER was recorded in the year ll90 in Berkshire. Milo PORTARIUS (l086) performed porter service at the jail or castle of Winchester. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans.In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84. 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 l2th century and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. A later instance of the name includes a Mr John PORTER, who was buried at St. Antholin Church, London in the year 1674.
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