The ancient surname of STARSMORE was originally derived from the Old German STARMANN - meaning the strong and severe man. It was also a nickname used in a transferred sense of a patch of white hair on the forhead of a horse, and so perhaps the name denoted someone with a streak of white hair. It is possibly also a house name for someone who lived at a house distinguished by the sign of a star. The name has numerous variant spellings which include Van de STAR, VERSTER, SHTERN, and STARR. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Early records of the name mention Magota STARMER of the County of Surrey who was recorded in the year 1327 and Margeria STARMERE of the County of Worcestershire appears in 1327. Edwin STARMER of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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 most 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 include Richard STERRE, who was the vicar of Happesbough, County Norfolk in 1465, and William Pynsent married Mary STARMAN in London in 1705. (No church recorded). In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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