The surname of POTTAGE was an English occupational name for a maker or seller of potage, a thick soup or stew. The name was originally derived from the Old French word POTAGIER, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1086. From the knowledge of herbs the potager gradually became looked upon as a medicine man or herbalist. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Walter le Potager, who was documented in 1303, and John le Potager was recorded in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Simon de Potager appears in County York in 1400. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Later instances of the name mention Simon Potinger of Hampshire, registered at Oxford University in 1575, and Benjamin Pottinger and Elizabeth Dance were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1762. John Bostock and Anne Pottenger were wed at the same church in 1776. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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