The surname of WESTBY was a locational name 'the dweller at the west of the town or village'. A name known to every medieval register throughout England. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name is also spelt WESTEBY, WESTOBY, WESTBUY and WASTEBY. Early records of the name mention Maurice de WESTBY who was recorded in the year 1150 in County Essex. Goche WESTOBY appears in 1197 in Norfolk. Algar WESTBUY was documented in County Oxford in the year 1273. John in le WESTBY of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Richard WESTEBY of County Devon, registered at Oxford University in the year 1575. This is a common surname in Gamrie, Scotland, and is also found in Perthshire and West Lothian. Janet WASTEBY in Biggar, Lanarkshire, was recorded in 1670, and Isobel WESTBY was documented in Little Dunkeld in the same year. A pension was paid to Marg WASTEBY a deacon in 1723. 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. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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