The surname of WAKEFIELD was a locational name 'of Wakefield', a place name in the County of Yorkshire. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Early records of the name mention Wacefeld, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Wacfeld (without surname) of the County of Cheshire in the year 1180. Johannes de Wakfield of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. George Roberts and Mary Wakefield were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1563. The name was derived from the Old English word WACCFELD. One of the founders of New Zealand was Edward Gibbon Wakefield (1796-1862) an enthusiastic advocate of Antipodean colonization. He was born in London, the son of a former land agent, and was transported in 1827 after being found guilty of abduction. His first writing on colonial expansion 'A Letter from Sydney' was written in 1829. In 1837 he formed the New Zealand Association, and was one of the founders of Canterbury, New Zealand. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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