This surname of SLAVENS was derived from the Irish O'Sleibhin - a name meaning 'the mountain'. They are a branch of the Cenel Eoghain in Ulster (The clan name of the O'Neills descended Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine Hostages located in Tyrone and south Derry). They were an old ecclesiastical family in Fermanagh, and some members of the family settled in County Westmeath in the 17th century. The inland Leinster county of Westmeath was created late in the reign of King Henry VII by hiving off the western part of Meath. County Westmeath is thus bounded on the east by County Meath; its southern boundary is with County Offaly. On the north Westmeath is bounded by the counties of Meath, Cavan and Longford, and on the west by County Longford and County Roscommon. There was scarcely any commercial enterprise in the county a hundred years ago save for the sale of agricultural produce, and at Mullingar, two tanneries and a brewery and malting establishment. The prefix 'O' was very widely dropped during the period of the submergence of Catholic and Gaelic Ireland, which began in the early 17th century, when English rule and influence in Ireland became really effective. When the sparse Irish population began to increase it became necessary to broaden the base of personal identification by moving from single names to a more definite nomenclature. The prefix MAC was given to the father's christian name, or O to that of a grandfather or even earlier ancestor. 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. In 1514 there is a record in the Ormond Deeds, a judgement of the Liberty Court of Tipperary in which a Terrelagh O'Slevin, together with an O'Donnell, is described as 'pure Irish of the Irish nation. The name is included amongst the principal Irish names in the barony of Farbill, Westmeath in the 1659 'census'.
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