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Whiteright Coat of Arms / Whiteright Family Crest

This surname WHITERIGHT was a locational name 'of WHEATRIDGE' a spot in Northumberland, and perhaps from one of three places names Whitrigg in County Cumberland. The name was derived from the Old English word HRYGGRIK meaning 'spirit-ruler'. The earliest of the name on record appears to be WICTIC (without surname) and WITRIC (without surname) who were listed as tenants-in-chief, 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. William WICKRIK was recorded in 1276 in Berkshire, and Roger WYTHRICH was documented in 1327 in County Suffolk. 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. Robert de WYTERIK 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. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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