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Sykes Coat of Arms / Sykes Family Crest

Sykes Coat of Arms / Sykes Family Crest

This surname SYKES was a locational name 'the dweller near or at the syke' from residence near a stream flowing through flat or marshy land. This is one of the great Yorkshire surnames. Local names usually denoted where a man held land. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he lived, or from the land that he held. This name would identify his whole family, and followed them wherever they moved. The name was derived from the Old English 'sic' and has been local to Yorkshire since the 12th century. Early records of the name mention Ralph de Sich who was documented in 1166 in the County of Norfolk. Roger del Sik was recorded in County Norfolk in 1212, and Richard del Sikes appears in 1309, Wakefield, Yorkshire. Robertus del Sykes of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Samuel Wheedon Sykes married Jemina Jones at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1794. James Sykes and Eleanor Adie were married at the same church in 1804. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour, the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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