SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. The surname of SHAWCROSS was a locational name 'of Shallcross Hall' which lies in the parish of Taxal, County Derbyshire, on the confines of Cheshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The Shallcross'es of Shallcross were considerable people in the 17th and 18th century, and the name is still strong in the immediate area. Early records of the name mention James Shalcross, who registered at Oxford University in 1537. William Shallcross of Stockport was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1605. In 1806 Charles Fenley married Miss Mary Shallcross at St. George's, Hanover Square, London. 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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