This interesting surname belongs to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, and to habits of dress and behaviour. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle English "fe(i)th", aithfulness, loyalty (Old French "feid, feit", from the Latin "fides"), used to denote a trustworthy person. One William Feyth was entered in the 1389 Calendar of the Freemen of Norwich. The surname, Faythful, with variant spellings Faithful and Faithfull, is particularly well recorded in Hampshire from the mid 16th Century. The wills of Hugo Faythful and Margaret Faythfule were registered in that county in 1548, and on July 29th 1585, Emlin Faithfull and Gregory Simons were married at Quarley, Hampshire. The christening of Jana, daughter of Johnis Faithfull, took place at Selborne, Hampshire, on November 1st 1586. Soon after the Reformation, Faithful(l) became a popular baptismal name, and on October 18th 1640, Benjamin, son of Faithfull Bishopp, was christened at St. Columb Major, Cornwall. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield, on a saltire engrailed sable five plates, on each an ermine spot, the Crest being a crane perched on the stump of a tree proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Feythful, burgess of Chichester, which was dated 1492, in "Medieval Records of Chichester", Sussex, during the reign of King Henry V11, known as "Henry Tudor", 1485 - 1509. 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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