The surname of THOLE was a baptismal name 'the son of Theodoric', a nickname TERI, from the French THIERRY. The name was composed of the Germanic elements PEUDO (people-race) and RIC (power). Theodoric was the name of the Ostrogothic leader (circa.454-526) who invaded Italy in 488 and established his capital at Ravenna in 493. His name was often taken as a derivative of the Greek THEODORIS. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form TERRA. There are many variant spellings of the name which include DUTIL, THIED, TIEDE, TIEL, THEEK, TELEMAN, THALMAN, THEILMANN, THEIRRY and TILKE. During the 17th century surnames were brought to Britain, North America and southern Africa by French Huguenot exiles. The Huguenots were French Protestants, and in 1572 large numbers of them were massacred in Paris on the orders of Queen Catherine de'Medici. Many of the survivors sought refuge in England and elsewhere. Although the Edict of Nantes (1598) officially guaranteed religious toleration, persecution continued, and the Edict was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685. It was then the trickle of emigration became a flood. Many migrated to England, while others joined groups of Dutch Protestants settling around the Cape of Good Hope. Others sailed across the Atlantic to establish themselves in North America. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name. The bear has generally been regarded with a mixture of fear and amusement, due to its strength and unpredictable temper on the one hand and its clumsy gait on the other. Both these qualities are no doubt reflected in the choice of using the animal in the arms. Throughout the Middle Ages the bear was a familiar figure in popular entertainments such as bear baiting and dancing bears.
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