This surname of WINTHROP is of the locational group of surnames 'of Winthrope' a spot in Lincolnshire. The name was derived from the Old English word WIGMUND. The earliest of the name on record appears to be WIMETHORPE, who was recorded in Northumberland in the Domesday Book of 1086. WINTORP (without surname) was recorded in the year 1212, in County Essex. Most of the place-names that yield surnames are usually of small communities, villages, hamlets, some so insignificant that they are now lost to the map. A place-name, it is reasonable to suppose, was a useful surname only when a man moved from his place of origin to elsewhere, and his new neighbours bestowed it, or he himself adopted it. Notable members of the name mention John WINTHROP (1588-1649) the English colonist, born in Groton, Suffolk. He was bred to the law, and in 1629 was appointed governor of Massachusetts colony. The first part of his journal was published in 1790. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. John WINTHROP (1639-1707) was the Anglo-American soldier and colonial administrator, born in Ipswich, Massachusett. He served in the parliamentary army in 1660, and settled in Connecticut in 1663. He was commander against the Dutch, the Indians and the French. He was agent in London for Connecticut (1693-97) and governor of the colony from 1698. 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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