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Wadford Coat of Arms / Wadford Family Crest

This ancient English surname of WADFORD is a locational name meaning 'one who came from WATFORD' in Hertfordshire. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form WAPFORD, literally meaning the dweller on the hunting land, one who hunted. When meat in the Middle Ages could not be kept well throughout the winter months, an important source of meat came through the game killed by the hunter, whose work was both a necessity and a pastime for the ruling classes. The British particularly were famed for their hunting dogs, and one gentleman Gaston de Foix, in France, was said to have had sixteen hundred hounds in his kennels, and six hundred horses in the stables. Favourite quarries of the nobility were the stag and the wild boar. From Germany there are many family names which denote the huntsman. The name is also spelt WAPFORD, WATFORD and WATHFORD. The earliest of the name on record appears to be WATFORD (without surname) who was recorded in the year 944, and WATHFORD (without surname) was documented in the year 1190. 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. 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. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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