After William 1 conquered England in 1066, he rewarded his followers with land grants. Amongst these followers were ones known as "Forten Bras" which literally translates as "strong in the arm", itself a rare surname, and from these people developed the Armstrangs or Armstrongs. The clan has always been centred in Liddesdale in Cumbria, where its fierce and warlike members were enlisted by the Scottish and English kings in turn. The terms "Moss Troopers" and "Border Reivers" were applied to the clan Armstrong, the history of the clan being the history of "The Border" and the wars between England and Scotland. As examples of their "strength", in 1342, Richard Harmestrang made a loan to King David 11 (1329 - 1371) of Scotland, whilst in 1363, William Armstrong was not only steward to the king, but ambassador to England. However, it is in the field of (literally) private enterprise that the Armstrongs made their mark, Armstrong of Gilnockie, a well known "free booter", being executed by James V of Scotland in 1529, whilst in 1596, Kinmont Willie (Armstrong), another "pirate" was seized by the Scots from Carlisle Castle, his subsequent fate is "unknown". Another unfortunate was Sir Thomas Armstrong (1624 - 1684), a well known monarchist, who fell foul of Judge Jeffreys and was executed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Armstrong, which was dated 1235, arrested and imprisoned for murder and later pardoned at Carlisle, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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