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Why Coat of Arms / Why Family Crest

Why Coat of Arms / Why Family Crest

This surname of WHY was a baptismal name 'the son of Gye' The name appears to have prevailed in France, very early as Guy, Guies, Guyon and the feminine Guiette. In the days of gunplowder plot and Guy Fawkes the name lost caste, and as a fontal title has only recently recovered itself. The name was originally brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and whatever its origins this name was popular among the Normans in the forms Wi and Why, as well as in the rest of France in the form Guy and Guitte. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Willelmus filius Guidonis who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Turstanus filius Guye, ibid. John filius Gwydonis, was documented in the year 1273, in the County of Oxford. William Wy, was recorded in 1297, County Cornwall. Jane Gwye was baptised at St. James' Clerkenwell, London in the year 1573. Nathaniel Ponder and Mary Guy were married at Canturbury, Kent in 1666. Guy's Hospital in London, was founded by Thomas Guy (1645-1724). He was a London bookseller and one of the Oxford University Printers. 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 head, 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 arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Oundle, County Northampton and County Wiltshire. (Guy). 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.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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