UNDERHAYE is a variant of Underhill and was a locational name, literally meaning 'one who resided below the hills', from residence on the lower slopes. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. Early records of the name mention William Underhill who was recorded in the year 1273 in County Bedford and the name appears as Underwalle in the same year in County Oxford. William Underhay of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name mention John Carruthers and Betty Underhill who were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1651 and Edward Underhay wed Eleanor Asher at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1752. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1483-84.
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