The surname of WHETON was a locational name 'of Wharton' places in Cheshire and Lincolnshire. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Warton (without surname) listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. Wartona (without surname) was documented in the year 1139 in County Cheshire. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monastries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. 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 rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification.
An interesting member of the name was Philip, Duke of Wharton (1698-1731), the Irish politician. He was given an Irish dukedom in 1718 for his support of the government in the Irish House of Peers. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Kirkby-Thore, County Westmorland.
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