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Wignall Coat of Arms / Wignall Family Crest

Wignall Coat of Arms / Wignall Family Crest

SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. WIGNALL was of the locational group of surnames and there are several places so called in County Norfolk, and County Lancashire. Early records of the name mention William de Wigenhale, documented in County Norfolk, during the reign of Henry III (1216-1272 ). Richard Wigenhale was recorded in Norfolk in 1273. Henry de Wignall of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Buried, Anne wife of William Wignell at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1588. Elizabeth Wignall of Chester, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1545. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but most of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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