The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burke's General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. This ancient English surname of THETFORD was a locational name meaning 'one who came from THETFORD' a market-town in County Suffolk, thirty miles from Norwich. The name was brought into England by early Scandinavian settlers in the Norman form TEDFORT, literally meaning the dweller at the ford. The Scandinavian element in English place names is very considerable. It is an outcome of the extensive Scandinavian settlements made in England from the latter half of the ninth century onwards. They were mostly Danes, but in the north-western parts of the country such as Cheshire, Lancashire, Westmorland, Cumberland and West Yorkshire, the settlers were mostly Norwegians. Many English names adopted by Scandinavians were changed in form to conform better to Scandinavian habits of speech. The earliest of the name on record appears to be TEDFORT (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, and THEFORD was documented in the year 1337. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. A later instance of the name includes Susanna, the daughter of Arthur THETFORD, who was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1721. 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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