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Whitehorn Coat of Arms / Whitehorn Family Crest

Whitehorn Coat of Arms / Whitehorn Family Crest

This surname of WHITEHORN derived from two origins, as a nickname, perhaps one with a splendid trumpet or drinking-horn or as a habitation name from the Old English word HWIT (white) and AERN (house). There is a place in Scotland named WHITHORN near Wigtown and this settlement is said to have been established in the 5th century by Saint Ninian, and named from the white stone church built by him. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. The name is also spelt WHITEHORNE and WHITHORN. Early records mention Martin WHITHORN in Suffolk in 1275 and Thomas WHITHORN on the Subsidy Rolls for Sussex in 1327. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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