The surname of WIGGETT which is also spelt Waggett, Weggit and Wacket, was a baptismal name 'the son of Waket' an ancient although now long forgotten personal name. 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. 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. Early records of the name mention Henry Waket, 1273, County Lincolnshire. Hugh Waket, County Berkshire, ibid. Edward Wegget of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name include John Waggatt of County Surrey, who registered at Oxford University in the year 1581. Thomas Waggit, aged 17, sailed in the "Thomas and John" ship for Virginia and the United States of America in the year 1635. Thomas Pepper and Mary Wackett were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1731. Baptised, William Thomas Waggett at the same church in the year 1742. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. 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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