The surname of WILBOURNE was a locational name 'the dweller at the brook or welling stream'. The name was derived from the Old English word WELLEBURNA. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Walebruna (without surname) who was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in County Norfolk. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Another record of the name mentions Willebrune (without surname) who appears in the year 1198 in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The name is also spelt WILLBOURNE and WILBORNE. 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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