The surname of RATLEDGE is of English and Scottish uncertain origin. It is a habitation name; the location and etymology of the place from which it derives are obscure. The name is found mainly on the English/Scottish borders. The place in Cumberland now called Routledge Burn seems to have received its name in the 16th century from a member of the family rather than vice-versa. Local names find their origins in the villages, towns and areas where people were born, or from the land they owned. In the Middle Ages, a man was identified by his place of birth and almost every city, town and village existing medieval times has originated one or more family names. Anyone leaving his birthplace would be known to new friends and neighbours by the name of his former residence, his birthplace, or the land he owned. The name is also spelt ROUTLEDGE, ROUTLAGE and RAUTLEDGE. Symon Routlage and his son Mathew were charged with spuilzeit of certain goods (spoiling and plundering) in 1494. David Routlesche was bailie to James Douglas of Caver in 1512, and Martin de Rotheluche (a Scot) was procurator of the Scottish Nation in the University of Orleans in 1537. John Routledge and Ann Jones were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1781 and Robert Routledge and Phoebe Sherol were married at the same church in 1789. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. 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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