The original bearer of this name would have come from Widdacombe, Widdicombe or Withycombe, all places in counties Devon and Somerset or from Widecomb-in-the-Moor, a parish in County Devon, six miles from Ashburton. The name was derived from the Old English word WITHYCOMBE, and the name literally meant the dweller in a valley. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Geoffrey de Widecombe, who was documented in 1196, County Somerset, Hugh Widecombe appears in Devon in the year 1200, and Robertus Wythecumbe was documented in County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1307-1327). Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Later references of the name include Edward Widdicombe of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and William Widcombe of Chester, was recorded in the Wills of Chester in 1576. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Translation of arms: Gules (red) denotes military fortitude and magnanimity. The lion is the symbol of strength and courage.
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