Origin of the Name Down
The origin of the name Down
was found in the allfamilycrests.com archives. Meaning ' of the Downs', this is a locational name from the sloping declivity, from a residence nearby. Variants include Downes, Downe, Downs, Downer, Downman, Dunman, Gratten and Gratton. This name is of Anglo-Saxon descent spreading to the Celtic countries of Ireland , Scotland and Wales in early times and is found in many mediaeval manuscripts throughout the above islands. Examples of such are a Glibert le Donne, and a Matilda Don, Devon, who were recorded in the 'Hundred Rolls', England , in the year 1273. An Adam Doweman was recorded in the 'Poll Tax' of the West Riding of Yorkshire, in the year 1379. A William Downer and Barbara Greene were married in Canterbury, in the year 1683.
In Ireland this name and its variants were introduced into Ulster Province by settlers who arrived from England and Scotland , especially during the seventeenth century. It was the 'Plantations of Ireland ' in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that marked the end of Gaelic supremacy in Ireland . While the influx of settlers in the wake of the earlier Anglo-Norman invasion of the twelfth century resulted in a full integration into Irish society of the new arrivals, the same never occurred with the Ulster Planters who maintained their own distinct identity.
It is also an occasional variant of the names Dwane and Duane in County Limerick .
The Down coat of arms came into existence centuries ago. The process of creating coats of arms (also often called family crests) began in the eleventh century although a form of Proto-Heraldry may have existed in some countries prior to this. The new art of Heraldry made it possible for families and even individual family members to have their very own coat of arms, including all Down descendants.