The surname of WASSE is a long forgotten personal name which was originally brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. The earliest record of the name appears to be Teoion filius Wasso who was recorded in the year 1066, and WAZO (without surname) and GAZO (without surname) both appear as tenants-in-chief in the Domesday Book of 1086. Robertus filius Wazonis was documented in Hampshire in the year 1148, and Wace Armiger appears in London in 1150. After the family arrived in England a few of the members settled in County Cornwall, and William Was appears there in 1210. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of 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. Later instances of the name mention John Wason of County Somerset, who was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Johannes Gaze of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Leonard Waice or Wace registered at Oxford University in the year 1598. 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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