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. 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 II (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. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. Translation of arms: Gules (red) denotes military fortitude and magnanimity. The lion is the symbol of strength and courage.
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