This very unusual surname, although rare, is quite well recorded back to the very beginnings of surnames in the 12th century. It is almost certain that the original name holders were followers of William, The Conqueror, in 1066, and were either with him at the battle of Hastings, or must have joined him shortly afterwards. They appear to have been granted lands in Cambridge, and it is in that county, although a century after the battle, that we find the first recordings. The surname is locational, from the French Department of Aisne in Northern France, and originates from the town of 'Soissons'. Once this is known it is easy to see how the surname developed, being gradually given an 'English' transposition to arrive at the modern form. The earliest recordings include Esueillardus de Soissuns in the pipe rolls of Cambridge for the year 1190 in the first year of the reign of Richard 1st, the Lionheart, and 'Esueillardus' is almost certainly the same person as that shown below in the first known recording. By the year 1212 in the reign of King John, the first and only, some members of the 'family' had moved further afield because it is in Berkshire that Riulfus de Sessuns is recorded in the 'Feet of Fines' rolls for that county. The coat of arms was paradoxically granted in Oxford, and clearly the heralds had difficulty like the clerics with the spelling, because the grant is to both Seson and Sessions. The arms have the blazon of - per fesse crenellee gold and blue, three griffins heads erased counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Esueillardus de Seissuns, which was dated 1180, in the pipe rolls of the county of Cambridge, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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