The surname of WHETSTONE was of the locational group of surnames 'of Whetstone' in Derbyshire. The name was originally rendered in the old English HWETSTAN, literally meaning the dweller at the stones used for whetting scythes or the like. The original bearer of the name could have also derived his name from Westerhope, a place in County Northumberland. The earliest of the name on record appears to be WHETESTAN (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Most of the place-names that yield surnames are usually of small communities, villages, hamlets, some so insignificant that they are now lost to the map. A place-name, it is reasonable to suppose, was a useful surname only when a man moved from his place of origin to elsewhere, and his new neighbours bestowed it, or he himself adopted it. WHETSTON (without surname) appears in Leicestershire in the year 1231, and HWETSTAN was recorded in Cheshire in 1254. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Edward WHETSTONE of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Woodford Row, County Essex. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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