Weatherford Coat of Arms / Weatherford Family Crest
The surname of WEATHERFORD was a locational name 'of Wethersfield' a parish in County Sussex. The name was derived from the Old English word WIOHTHERES and literally meant 'the dweller by the fields' from residence nearby. Early records of the name mention Witheresfelda (without surname) listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was spelt as Witherefeld in the year 1150. Roger de Wetheresfeld was documented in County Cambridge in the year 1273. Geoffrey de Wethirisfeld was documented in the County of Cambridge. ibid. 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. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The name is also spelt Weathersfield and Wethersfield. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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