The surname of WAKEMAN was an official name 'the wakeman' the watchman or guardian. In Ripon Cathedral there is a monument commemorating the social and official virtues of the City Wakeman. It was the title of the chief magistrate of the borough of Ripon until 1604 when it was changed to mayor. He was the head of the body of wakemen, whose duty was to blow a cow's horn every night at 9 o'clock. If between then and sunrise any burglary took place, it was made good at the public charge.
Early records of the name mention William Wakeman, who was recorded in the year 1200 in County Oxford, and Richard le Wakeman appears in 1225 in the City of Dublin. Johannes Wakeman, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax in 1379. John Wakeman, bailiff of Yarmouth was documented in the year 1586. James Wakeman married Ann Pirkiss, St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1809. The name is also spelt Wakemann. 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. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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