This surname YARWOOD is an English habitation name, probably from Yarwood in Cheshire. Despite its modern frequency and concentration on the Lancashire area, this name does not seem to be recorded in Lancashire before the 11th century, when it was found as Yearwood. The earliest of the name on record appears to be YEAREWUD (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086, and William del YEARWOOD was recorded in 1297 in County Kent. The earliest English placenames were those taken over by the Anglo-Saxons from the Britons at the time of their settlement in Britain between the 5th and 6th centuries. It was after the Norman Conquest of 1066 that hereditary surnames began to be used. Many of the incoming Normans identified themselves by reference to the estates from which they had come in Northern France, and others took names from the places in England in which they settled. William YERWOOD was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Symon Yarwoode of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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. 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 the main 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.
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