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Whitlow Coat of Arms / Whitlow Family Crest

Whitlow Coat of Arms / Whitlow Family Crest

The surname of WHITLOW is of territorial origin from the lands of Whitelaw in the parish of Morebattle. There was also a barony of Whitelaw in the parish of Bowden. The name also meant the dweller at the white-hill or near the burial ground. The name has numerous variants which include WHITLAW, WHYTELAW, WITLAW and WHITELAW. Scottish surnames fall into two quite distinct groups; those of Gaelic origin and those of English origin. The Gaelic language was brought to Scotland from Ireland around the 5th century AD, displacing the British language (an early form of Welsh) previously spoken there as well as elsewhere. Gaelic was the main language of that part of Scotland not subject to English influence, a rather more extensive area than the present day Highlands and Islands, where Gaelic is still spoken in places. It is from these northwestern and western areas of Scotland that surnames of Gaelic origin, now almost universally Anglicized in form, have been disseminated around the world. Early records of the name mention John de Wytelowe, in the parish of Edneburk, 1296. Archibald de Quhitelaw, archdeacon of St. Andrews in 1470. Bartholomew Quhytlaw had land in Paxtoun in the year 1578. A notable member of the name is Viscount William Stephen Ian Whitelaw, born in 1918, the English politician, farmer and land-owner. He was educated at Winchester and Cambridge, served in the Scots Guards during and after the war and became a Conservative MP in 1955. He was deputy to Mrs Margaret Thatcher during her time as Prime Minister, and displayed loyalty and was one of her firmest, although sometimes privately critical, allies. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. 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.

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Last Updated: April 12th, 2023

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