This surname WATTERSON was a locational name 'the dweller by the river or stream'. There is a place WATERSTON in the County of Dorset, where the original bearer of the name may have lived. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. The name was derived from the Old English word WATERTONE. 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 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.
A number of bearers of this name trace their descent from Sir Robert Waterton, who fought in the Crusades in 1191. The name was also baptismal 'the son of Walter'. Other records of the name mention Walterus de Cantelupa, 1135 County Dorset. Alicia Waterson of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Waterson and Jane Harrison were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1607.
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.
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