The surname of SALCOMB was a locational name 'of Salcombe' in County Devon, near Kingsbridge. The name was derived from the Old English 'saltcombe' the dweller near the salt valley. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Saltecombe (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Richard Sealtcumbe, 1242 County Devon. Surnames as we recognise them today are believed to have been introduced by the Normans after the Invasion of 1066. The first mention of such names appears in the Domesday Book and they were progressively adopted between the 11th and 15th centuries. It was the nobles and upper classes who first assumed a second name, setting them apart from the common people who continued to use only the single name given to them at birth. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that is became common practice to use a secondary name, originally a name reflecting the place of birth, a nickname, an occupational name or a baptismal name which had been passed on from a parent to the child, as an additional means of identification. Later instances of the name mention Edward Salcombe of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Peter Salcomb appears in County Lancashire in 1400. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that 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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