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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. THATCHER was an occupational name, a derivative of an Old English word paeccan meaning 'to cover', and later it was used as a name meaning 'to thatch' roofs. The name is also spelt THACKER, THAKKER, THAKKAR, THACKORE and THAXTER. Early records of the name mention Paecham (without surname) recorded in County Berkshire in the year 970. The name was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Taceham, and recorded in the year 1167 as Thacham. Reginald le Thechare of the County of Oxford, was documented in 1273. John le Thacchere, was recorded in Subsidy Rolls in County Worcestershire, 1275. John Thatcher, was documented in the Subsidy Rolls, Derbyshire, 1327. Robert Thatcher of County Oxford, registered at Oxford University in the year 1591, and William Thatcher of County Sussex, was recorded there in 1598. 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. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The arms were registered in County Essex.
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