WALRATH was a locational name 'of Wallworth' in County Lancashire. A familiar Lancashire surname. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he held his land: this name identified his whole family and followed him wherever he moved. It could have been his place of birth, or the name of his land-holding. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held his 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. Early records of the name mention Waleorde (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Adam Walworke of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Edward Wallwork appears in County Lancashire in the same year. Margaret Walworth of Prestwich was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1605. Lawrence Wallwork, Lancashire 1618, ibid.The name is also spelt WALLWORTH. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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