This distinguished surname, with no less than twenty Coats of Arms, and several notable entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", is a patronymic form of the male given name David, itself coming from the Hebrew "Dodaveha" meaning "Beloved of Jehovah". This name was borne by the greatest of the early kings of Israel, which led to its popularity first among the Jews, and later among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. In Britain, the popularity of the personal name was increased due to the ame of St. David, 6th Century Bishop of Menevia, who became patron saint of Wales, and also as a result of its having been borne by two kings of Scotland: David 1, who reigned from 1124 to 1153, and David 11 (1329 - 1371). One David clericus, recorded in Documents relating to the Danelaw, Lincolnshire, dated 1150, is one of the earliest recorded bearers of the personal name in England. The patronymic first emerges in the early 14th Century (see below), and in 1402, a Richard Davys was entered in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York. Richard Barrett Davis (1782 - 1852) was animal painter to William 1V, and Sir John Francis Davis, chief superintendent of British trade in China, was made K.C.B. in 1854. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield with a chevron pean, in base a black lion rampant, a chief indented of the last, and a canton ermines. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Dauisse, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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