This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and derives from Eda, a Middle English pet form of the female given name Edith, itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Eadgyth", a compound of the elements "ead", prosperous, and "gyth", battle. Its widespread use in Anglo-Saxon times, mainly in the form "Eadgyth", ensured its survival, for a while at least, after the Norman Conquest; however, in the Domesday Book of 1086, the hard-sounding "Eadgyth" had already been softened to "Eaditha" or "Edava". Two 10th Century saints of the name, St. Edith of Wilton, and St. Edith of Polesworth, helped to popularize the form Edith. In 1042, Edward the Confessor, King of England, married Edith, only daughter of Earl Godwin, and Harold 11's wife was also an Edith. Eda (without surname) appears in the 1194 Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire. The surname emerges in the latter part of the 13th Century (see below). In the modern idiom the name is spelt Ead, Eade, Eades, Eads, Ede and Edes. On January 2nd 1700, Edward Ead, an infant, was christened at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is an azure shield, with a chevron engrailed between three silver leopards' faces, the Crest being a silver leopard's face. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Ede, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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