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Ennever & Enever family history & ancestry. Click here to return to the home page WJ Ennever (1869-1947). From the portrait by J Seymour R.A., exhibited in the Royal Academy.

Surname origins


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Surnames became common in England between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries when governments introduced personal taxation and are generally derived from four sources:

  1. Patronymic: the given (first) name of the father eg Williamson, or its abbreviated form Williams, meaning son of William, Richardson etc.  Different forms of these hereditary names occur in many countries eg Mac (Gaelic), O' (Irish), Ming (Chinese) etc.
  2. Locative: local surnames derived from the place of residence of its owner eg Hill, Wood, Lane, Ashford etc.
  3. Descriptive: names derived from personal attributes such as Long, Short, Little, Good, Wise etc.
  4. Occupational: names derived from occupations eg Farmer, Miller, Cooper, Fletcher, Collier (a coal miner) etc.

Ennever and its variants don't fit naturally into any of these categories but are often attributed to being of early medieval English origin, derived from the female given names of Guinevere or Guenever or even Jen(n)ifer. These are predominantly Welsh or west country names while all the early history of the Ennevers points to our origins being in Kent or Essex, making a link to these names highly unlikely. It does seem possible that the name Ennever/Enever may even have Middle Eastern or Viking origins and this possibility was discussed in a 2011 newsletter.

| Bance | Barnes | Bates | Beardsley | Brain | Buchanan | Callcott | Clark/Clarke | Collins | Cornwell | Cory/Corey | Durrant | Eagar | Ennever/Enever | Essam | Everett | Fewster | Fido | Hannaway | Hill | Hopkins | Howard | Hutchinson | Ince | Kirkpatrick | Lawson | Mapp | Martin | Moralee | Morris | Midlane | Morris | Oakley | Overton | Parr | Ponder | Sherwood | Skinner | Smith | Sporton | Stead | Stodhart | Such | Tadman | Thompson/Thomson | Tilson | Timms | Trew | Wells | Wright |

Click the surname in the table below to view all individuals born with that surname.  A list of all surnames on this web site can be found here.

Surname Origins
Bance

This interesting and uncommon name has its origins in the medieval given name Benedict, from the Latin "Benedictus", meaning "Blessed", which was popular throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, due chiefly to the fame of St. Benedict (circa 480 - 550); he founded the Benedictine order of monks at Monte Cassino and wrote the definitive monastic rule. The personal name gave rise to a large number and variety of personal names and thence surnames, such as Benn, from the Middle English given name "Benne", a short form of Benedict. The surnames Benns, Bents, Bence, Bense, Bance, Bants and Bince are all patronymic forms, meaning "son of Benn(e)". Interestingly the names Bence and Bance were reintroduced into England by French Huguenot refugees during the late 17th Century. The surname development in London includes Cycilie Bence (1576), Elizabeth Benns (1579), Edmund Bents (1598), Anne Bants (1634), and John Banse (1663). The marriage of William Bance and Christian Fullforde was recorded at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, on October 26th 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osmund Benz, which was dated 1086, in The Domesday Book (Derbyshire), during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.  Back to top
Barnes

This surname has three possible origins; firstly, it may be a topographical name or occupational name of Anglo-Saxon origin, for someone who lived or worked at a barn, deriving from the genitive case or plural of the Middle English "barn", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "bern", meaning barn, granary. The place name Barnes, on the bank of the Thames in West London, has the same origin, and some bearers may be members of families hailing from there. Secondly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse origin, and is the name borne by the son or servant of a berne, a term used in the early Middle Ages for a member of the upper classes. It derives from the Olde English "beorn", Old Norse "barn" meaning young warrior. Barne was occasionally used as a given name from an Olde English, Old Norse byname, and some examples of the surname may derive from this use. Thirdly, it may be of Irish origin, an Anglicised form of the Gaelic "O'Bearain", descendant of Bearan, a byname meaning spear.  Back to top
Bates

This surname has three distinct possible origins, the first and most likely source being the medieval male given name "Bate", itself a pet form of "Bartholomew", from the Aramaic patronymic "bar-Talmay" meaning "abounding in furrows" or "rich in lands". One Bate le Tackman was recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire. The name may also be occupational for a boatman, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bat" (Northern Middle English "bat"), a boat. A Herbert Bat was noted in the 1182 Pipe Rolls of Shropshire. Finally, the Old Norse "bati", profit or gain, used in the transferred sense of "lush pasture" may have given rise to the surname.  Back to top
Beardsley

This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire where the name is most popular. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. The placename is believed to derive from the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Beard", from the vocabulary word for a beard, with "leah", wood, glade, clearing, hence, "Beard's wood". Early recordings of the name include the marriage of Jese Beardsle and Edward Weze on February 26th 1575, at Carlton by Market, Bosworth, Leicestershire, and the marriage of Joan Beardsley and Thomas Weston at Gedling, Nottinghamshire, on April 16th 1604. William Beardsley, a mason, aged 30 yrs., was an early emigrant to New England, leaving London on the "Planter" in April 1635. A famous namebearer was Aubrey V. Beardsley (1872 - 1898), an English illustrator noted for his stylized black and white illustrations, especially for Oscar Wilde's "Salome". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Beardsley, which was dated November 28th 1573, marriage to Joane Ulsecroft, at Ashby De la Zouch, Leicestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603.   Back to top
Brain

 

Recorded in a number of spellings including Brain, Brane, Brayne, and Brayn, this interesting Anglo-Scottish surname has two possible origins. The first is locational from a village called Braine in Normandy, and as such was an introduction into England by followers of Duke William of Normandy, otherwise known as "The Conqueror", after his famous Invasion of 1066. Alternatively, the name well recorded in Scotland from the mid 15th century, may be an anglicized form of the Olde Gaelic surname Mac an Bhreitheamham. Here the translation is "The son of the judge", from "Mac" meaning son of, plus the occupational word "breitheamh", a judge. The surname is well recorded in the charters known as the Hundred Rolls of various English counties from the latter half of the 13th Century. This suggests that these names must have origination from the Norman village, whilst in Scotland Thomas Brayne of Baldowy, a witness in 1462, is the first recorded Scottish namebearer, and David Brane appears in the "Book of the Thane of Cowder" in 1477. Other examples include: Roger Brain in the 1601 Scottish Commissariot register, whilst Elizabeth Brain and Philip Green were married at St. Bennet's church, Paul's Wharf, London, on October 15th 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alicia Brayn. This was dated 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of England, 1272 - 1307.  Back to top
Buchanan

 

This long-established and distinguished surname, having no less than seventeen Coats or Arms, and with several notable entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", is of Old Scottish origin, and is a locational name from the district of Buchanan north west of Drymen in Stirlingshire, so called from the Gaelic "buth", house, and "Chanain", of the canon. This placename was first taken as a surname in the 13th Century by the head of a cadet branch of the clan McAuslan, their name being a patronymic form of "Absalon, Absolon", Anglo-French forms of the Hebrew personal name "Avshalam", composed of the elements "av", father, and "shalom", peace. In 1208, Absalon or Absalone, son of Macbethe, witnessed the gift of the Church of Campsie by Alewin, second earl of Lennox, and in 1225, he was granted a charter of the island called Clarines (Clarinch in Loch Lomond, later the gathering place of Clan Buchanan). Alan de Buchanan, witness, was recorded in the Levenax Charters, circa 1270, and Walter de Buchanan, noted in the same charter, had a grant of Auchmar in 1373. Maurice Buchanan acted as treasurer to Princess Margaret, wife of the Dauphin of France (afterwards Louis X1), and George Buchanan (1506 - 1582) was a historian and Latin scholar of European fame. The Coat of Arms most associated with this great family is a gold shield with a black lion rampant within a double tressure flory counterflory gules. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Absalone de Buchkanan, who witnessed Earl Maldowen's charter to Sir Robert Herthford, which was dated circa 1224, in the "Register of the Monastery of Paisley", Renfrewshire, during the reign of King Alexander 11 of Scotland, 1214 - 1249.  Back to top
Callcott

This unusual surname can be described as habitational, and whilst apparently of Olde English origins, may also be associated both with the Romans, and one thousand years later, the 1066 Normans. The derivation is from "ceald-cote", which literally means "the cold house", an unusual distinction at a time when all houses lacked any warmth! It seems more likely that the name referred to the location, particularly as it has been suggested that wherever a Roman road existed, so did a place called "Calde-cote", the Romans preferring to construct their roads along the windy uplands, making them more difficult to attack. It is also clear that some names derive from the Olde English personal name "Cola", as in the village name of Collacotts; Thomas de Colacott being recorded in the Devonshire Hundred Rolls for 1275. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Caldecot, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cambridgeshire"Back to top
Clark (incl Clarke)
This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from a medieval occupational name for a scribe or secretary, or for a member of a minor religious order. The word "clerc", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cler(e)c", priest, originally denoted a member of a religious order only, but since the clergy of minor orders were allowed to marry and so found families, the surname could become established. It should also be noted that during the Middle Ages virtually the only people who were able to read and write were members of religious orders and it was therefore natural that the term "clark" or "clerk" would come to be used of any literate man, particularly the professional secretary and the scholar. One Richerius Clericus, Hampshire, appears in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname was first recorded in the early 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Reginald Clerc, noted in the Curia Regis Rolls of Rutland (1205), and John le Clerk, registered in the "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", Lincolnshire (1272). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Clark, Clarke, Clerk and Clerke. Richard Clarke was noted as a passenger on the "Mayflower" bound for the New World in 1620. Lawrence Clark, together with his wife, Margaret, and son, Thomas, were famine emigrants who sailed from Liverpool aboard the "Shenandoah", bound for New York in March 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelm le Clerec, which was dated 1100, in "The Old English Byname Register of Somerset", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135.  Back to top
Collins
There are two origins for this surname. The first and applying to most English name holders is a derivative patronymic of the Greek-Roman "Nicholas". It is comprised of the elements "Col" plus "in", the latter being a shortened form of the Saxon "kin" to imply "Son of Col". Introduced into England by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, some eighty derivative spellings are recorded, showing the great popularity of the name Nicholas (translating as - the victory people). The second possibility is as an anglicised form of "Coileain" prefixed by "Mac or O", and found principally in the West of Ireland. In this case the name translates as "the young hound", the clan being hords of Connello, one of the earliest Irish name holders being Fr. Dominic Collins (1553 - 1602). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Collin, which was dated 1221, in the "Kings Rolls of Devonshire".  Back to top
Cornwell
This surname of English origin is either a locative name from Cornwall in Oxfordshire so called from the Old English pre 7th Century "corn" a metathesized form of "cron", "cran" meaning "crane" plus "well(a)" spring, stream, or it is a regional name from the county of Cornwall, so called from the Old English pre 7th Century tribal name Cornwealas. This is from Kernow, the native name that the Cornish used to denote themselves, of uncertain etymology, perhaps connected with a Celtic element meaning "horn", "headland", compounded with the Old English pre 7th Century "wealas" meaning "strangers", "foreigners". Variations in the spelling include Cornewell, Cornewall, Cornwal, etc.. A coat of arms granted to this family is a silver shield with a red lion rampant ducally crowned gold, within a black bordure bezantee, the crest being a red demilion rampant ducally crowned gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Cornwelle, which was dated 1161Back to top
Cory (incl Corey)
This name is Scottish in origin, and is a locative surname from anyone of the places in Arran, Dumfriess and other areas named "Corried". The name derives from the Gaelic word "coire", meaning "cauldron", and is used here in the transferred sense of a circular hanging valley on a mountain. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.  There are several forms of the modern surname, "Corry", "Cory", "Corey" and "Corrie", and they are first recorded between the 12th Century and 13th CenturyBack to top
Durrant
This name is of Norman origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066 as the personal name "Durant", it is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Durandus", and derives from the Olde French "durant" meaning "enduring", from "durer", to endure, last, itself from the Latin "durus", hard, firm. As a personal name Durant and Durand were popular in the Middle Ages, recorded in the Middle Ages, recorded as "Durand" in 1115, Hampshire, "Doraunt" (1312, Yorkshire), and taken to mean "steadfast", and perhaps "obstinate". The modern surname can be found in at least thirteen different forms, ranging from Durant, Durand, Durrant and Durrand to Dorant, Dorran and Dorrins. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Durand, which was dated 1196, in the "Pipe Rolls of Westmoreland"Back to top
Eagar
This ancient surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century male personal name "Eadgar", composed of the elements "ead", prosperity, fortune, with "gar", spear; the first element was a distinguishing mark of the royal house of Wessex. Eadgar (944 - 975), the grandson of Alfred, was one of the most successful kings of that house, and his name became a favourite among the English, and survived the Norman Conquest, unlike many native English given names. It is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Edgar" and "Etgar", and appears in Suffolk as "Aedgar" (1095), and "Adger" (1182). The personal name was also found early in Scotland, where the first of the name recorded is Eadgar, King of the Scots, who reigned from 1097 - 1100. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts a gold cross formee between four gold martlets on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Edgar, which was dated 1250, in the "Book of Fees of Surrey"Back to top
Ennever (incl Enever)

Click here for information about the origins of Ennever and its variants.  Back to top
Essam
This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locative name from a number of places. Firstly, it may be from Heysham in Lancashire, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Hessam", and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "haes", brushwood, beach or oak wood, and "ham", village, homestead. Secondly, it may be from Eastham in Cheshire, Somerset and Worcestershire, recorded in the Domesday Book as "Estham", and means "Eastern village", from the Olde English "east", east, and "ham", homestead, village. Finally, the surname may be from Isham in Northamptonshire, recorded as "Isham" in the Domesday Book, and gets its name from the river "Ise", and "ham" (as before); hence, "village on the river Ise". Locative surnames were given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area, and in this way the spelling of the name often changed with varying regional pronunciations. The surname has many variant spellings, ranging from Easom, Esam and Essam, to Isham, Isom and Issom. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family depicts a silver fesse wavy and in chief three silver piles also wavy, points meeting in fesse, on a red shield, the Crest being a silver demi swan with wings displayed, beaked black. The Motto, "Ostendo non ostento", translates as, "I show not boast". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Isham, which was dated 1206, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire"Back to top
Everett
Recorded in many spelling forms including Everard, Everett, Evras, Evert, Everest, and diminutives such as Ebi, Ebe, Eberline, Eberle, etc, this is a surname of considerable antiquity. It has its sources in both the Old English pre 7th century personal name 'Eoforheard' and the Germanic personal name 'Eberhard', both composed of the elements 'eber', translating as 'wild boar' and 'hard' meaning brave or strong. Curiously the name was very popular with the 1066 Norman invaders of England, and it is possible that the German spelling was brought by them, and then intermixed with the English form. The name as 'Everard' was particularly popular with the Bretons who came as part of William's army, and who were, in recognition of their feats, granted extensive lands in East Anglia. A Somerset family by the name of Everard claim their descent from one Ranulph Fitzeverard, who supposedly held lands at Luxborough, Somerset, in 1066. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Everard. which was dated 1204 in the 'Curia regis' rolls of Bedford. during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216.  Back to top
Fewster
This interesting surname, with variant spellings Foister, Foyster and Fuster, derives from the Anglo-French "fuster", itself coming from the old French "fustier" or "Fustrier", a derivative of "fustre", block of wood, plus the agent suffix "-ier". The name was therefore occupational for a worker in wood, and specifically one who made the wooden framework of the saddle-tree. The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 12th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include: Robertus de Cathale, "fufster" - the "Register of the Freemen of York City", dated 1277; Nicholas le Fuster - the 1348 "Close Rolls of London", an Richardus Fuystour the 1379 "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire". Frequent references are made to the profession in the York Medieval Mystery Plays. It is recorded that "the Sellers (Saddlers), Verrours, and Fuystours (Fewsters), went together in the York Pageant". On February 9th 1552 Barthylemewe Feyster and Alyce Sparrowe were married in St. Margaret's, Westminster, London and on August 28th 1666 George Fewster married a Mary Reever in Allhallows, Honey Lane, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Durand le Fuster, which was dated circa 1179, in the "Records of St. Bartholomew's Hospital.  Back to top
Fido
This intriguing name is of early medieval Anglo-Norman French origin, and was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname derives from the habitual use of a nickname, as was frequently the case in the medieval period of surname creation; in this instance the nickname was one bestowed on an illegitimate child, and especially given to the illegitimate child of a priest. The name derives from the Anglo-Norman French "fitz, fiz", son, from the latin "filius", with "deu", God, from the Latin "deus". The nickname thus meant "child of God". The modern surname from this source can be found as Fido, Fidoe, Fydo(e) and Fiddy. One Edward Fido was christened on September 22nd 1629 at St. Mary at Hill, London, and the marriage of Thomas Fido and Lydia Lynk was recorded at St. James's, Duke's Place, London, on January 2nd 1688. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Fideu, which was dated 1327, in the Pinchbeck Register of SuffolkBack to top
Hannaway
Recorded as O' Hanvey, Hanify, Hanvey, Hanway, Hanaway, and Hannaway, this is an Irish surname. It is of great antiquity, and derives from the pre 10th century Gaelic O' hAinbhith, which has the somewhat unusual meaning of 'The male descendant of the stormy one'. The vast majority of Gaelic surnames originate from a nickname for the original chief or leader of the clan. Some of these nicknames were very robust, the famous Kennedy name meaning 'Ugly head'. Presumably the original chief of the O'Hanveys had either a stormy temperament or drove his opponents off like a storm! Most early surnames were in some way a memory of great deeds long past, and this surname seems to be a good example of the genre.  Back to top
Hill
This distinguished surname, with over fifty entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", and having no less than seventy-five Coats of Arms, is of Olde English pre 7th century derivation. It has two completely distinct possible origins. The first and most obvious being a topographical name from residence by or on a hill. The derivation is from the word "hyll", and requires no further explanation. These topographical surnames, which in their early forms were accompanied by a preposition such as ''ate'' or ''del'', were among the earliest created, as natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. However recent research indicates that many name holders may derive from the medieval personal and baptismal name "Hille". This is a semi nickname or short form of one of the many Anglo-Saxon compound names with the first element "hild", meaning battle or war, such as Hildebrand and Hilliard or the French ''hilaire'' from the Latin ''hilaris'' meaning ''cheerful''. These are all surnames and personal names in their own right.  Back to top
Hopkins
Recorded as Hopkin, Hopkins, Hopkinson, and since the 17th century much associated with Wales, this is an English patronymic derivative of the original pre 5th century Germanic warrior name Hrod-berht, translating as ‘renowned-fame’. ‘Borrowed’ by the French around the time of the Emperor Charlemagne in the 8th century, its spelling was slightly changed to Robert and became equally popular. In that spelling that it was introduced into England, Scotland and ultimately Wales, after the famous Norman Conquest of 1066. Over the next four hundred years Robert, perhaps as a result of its interesting meaning was so popular that it developed a wide range of surname variations, many not obviously connected with Robert - including this one. These variants now recorded as surnames in the own right include such short forms as Dob(b), Hob(b), Hop, Nob(b) and the most direct Rob, Robb, Robin, Robbins, and Robinson. Not surprisingly with such a pedigree, Hopkins is one of the earliest recorded surnames with examples in English records such as Nicholas Hobekyn of the county of Cambridge in the Hundred Rolls of England in 1273. Surnames were much later in Wales than the rest of the British Isles, and when first recorded and given due allowance for both a change of language as well as dialect and (indifferent) spelling, it was as ab Popkyn, or the son of Hopkin. Over the centuries there were several coats of arms granted to name holders. The first was probably Hopkinson of Alford, Lincolnshire, in the time of Queen Elizabeth 1st (1558 – 1603) although the most unusual - is to Hopkins of Maryland, in the American colony of that name, in the year 1764. This was about ten years before official US independence. The basic blazon has a black shield, a gold chevron in chief between two pistols, and a silver medal inscribed with the head of Louis XV, the king of France. This suggests the family were much involved in the defeat of the French during the Seven Year Wars of around that time.  Back to top
Howard
When the final definitive history of famous English surnames is written, the surname of Howard will surely be near the head of the list. It appears no less than seventy-five times in the British National Biography, whilst thirty-seven coats of arms have been granted to the name holders. The highest heraldic rank in England is that of Earl Marshall, responsible for all events in which the monarch takes a ceremonial role. This title is held by the Duke of Norfolk, whose family descend from Sir William Howard who died in 1308. Lord Howard of Effingham was the victor over the Spanish Armada in 1588, not Sir Francis Drake as is popularly recorded. There are two possible originations for the surname. It may derive from the Norman-French personal names Huard and Heward, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. These were originally adapted forms of the pre 7th century Germanic personal name "Hughard", composed of the elements "hug", meaning heart or spirit, and "hard", hardy and brave. Alternatively it may derive from the Anglo-Scandinavian personal name "Haward", composed of the elements "ha", meaning high and "varthr", a guardian. The names Huardus, Huart and Houardus, all appear as land owners in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, which predated most surnames by at least two hundred years. In the modern idiom the surname has several spellings including Howard, Howerd, Heward and Huard. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Robert Howarde. This was dated 1221, in the rolls of Ely Abbey, CambridgeshireBack to top
Hutchinson
Recorded in several forms including Hutchinson, Hutcheson, Hutchieson and Hutchison, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It is a patronymic and diminutive form of the original personal name Hugh, itself Norman-French, but of pre 7th century Old German origins. It derives from the word "hug" meaning "heart or soul", with the additives "kin" meaning close relative, and "son of". St. Hugh of Lincoln (1140 - 1200) founded the first Carthusian Monastery in England, and the popularity of the name was at least in part, due to him. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Isota Huchonson, dated 1379, in the Poll Tax returns of YorkshireBack to top
Ince
This interesting name is locational from places so called in Cheshire and Lancashire. The derivation is from the Welsh "ynys", which means an island, water meadow and the name is very apt for Ince in Cheshire which forms with Elton an island in the low-lying country on the Mersey. The spelling, recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, is Inise, developing through Ines and Ynes to its present day form. During the Middle Ages, when many people migrated from their homes to seek work, they adopted the names of their former village as a means of identification. Two early recordings of the name in Cheshire are of one Anne Ince who was christened at Nantwich on the 6th April 1579 and one William Ince who married Jane Maddock on 21st June 1583 also at Nantwich. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Ince, which was dated 1401, witness in the "Assize Rolls, Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 1V, known as "Henry of Bolingbroke", 1399 - 1413.  Back to top
Kirkpatrick
This name is of Scottish locational origin from a chapelry of that name in the parish of Closeburn. The name derives from the Northern Medieval English 'kirk', a church plus Patrick. The church in this case was dedicated to St. Patrick, known as 'The Apostle of Ireland', Patrick, (from the Latin 'Patricius' meaning 'nobleman'), is generally thought to have been born at or near Dumbarton. Several places throughout the British Isles have been named in his honour. The surname from this particular location is first recorded towards the middle of the 12th Century. One, Ivo de Kirkpatrick and his heirs had a charter from Robert Bruce of a place between Blawatwood and the Water of Esk, circa 1190 and a John de Kirkpatrick of Dumfriesshire rendered homage to John Balliol in 1296. The family was connected by marriage to Emperor Napoleon III of France. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de (of) Kirkpatrick, witnessed one of the Bruce Charters, which was dated 1141 (deceased), 'Alexander Nisbet's heraldic plates', by A. Ross and F. J. Grant, during the reign of King David 1 of Scotland, 1124 - 1153. Back to top
Lawson
This is a surname of truly ancient origins. It originates in the Holy Land in so far as the etymology of the surname is concerned, being 'brought back' to England and Scotland as 'Lawrence' by the 12th century crusaders. In its earliest form as 'Law', it was a nickname of endearment, and as such had great popularity in the medieval period. The earliest origination of the name at all is pre-Christian, being derived from Laurentum, the town in Italy famous for its laurel trees. For reasons unclear, Lawson is very much a north country surname. There are no less than seventeen coats of arms, all but one were granted to northern nameholders, and all seem to be associated with the Lawson family of Brough Hall, Yorkshire, whose origins are traceable back to the time of Richard III, and 'The War of the Roses'. Their coat of arms, which is believed to be the original grant, has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a chevron between three martlets, all black. These arms suggest a loyal person who lived by the sword, having no estates to support him. However as in later years the family addresses included Nesham Abbey, Durham, Longhirst in Cumberland, Boroughbridge Hall, Cairnmuir in Peebles, Scotland, etc, one has to assume that the family fortunes improved over the centuries. Early recordings include Henry Laweson in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire for the year 1379, whilst one of the very earliest settlers into the New American colony of Virginia Christopher Lawson, recorded as 'living at James Cittie' in that state, on February 23rd 1624. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Lawisson, which was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward III, known as 'The father of the Navy', 1327 -1377.  Back to top
Mapp
Recorded in many forms including Mabb, Mabbs, Mapp, Maps, Mapes, Mapis, Mayps, Maypes, and probably others, this is an English surname. It is a nickname form of the female given name Mabel, itself from the Latin "amabilis" meaning loveable. In Middle English and Old French the name appeared as Amabel, with the pet form Mabilie being widely recorded in 12th Century documents. The surname(s) as shown above with the "b" sharpened to a "p" are particularly well recorded in London Church Registers from the late 16th Century. These include on November 28th 1582, Mary Mape and George Stonestreet who were married at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, and on February 23rd 1625, Amy Mapp, was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Mapes, the canon of St. Paul's Cathedral, and dated 1200.  Back to top
Martin
This interesting surname recorded in some two hundred forms from Martin and Martini to Marti and Martinovich, is of Roman origin. It derives from "Mars", the god of fertility and war, although it is claimed that "Mars" itself may derive ultimately from the word "mar", meaning "to gleam". The original given name has been used in every state in Europe since the 12th century crusades to free the Holy Land from the Moslems. However the main impetus which gave the name such popularity was as a result of the good works of the 14th Century Saint Martin of Tours, in France. It is sais that Martin is one of the few saints names which the protestants accepted after the reformation. There are many patronymic forms such as Martinez (Spanish) or Martenssen (Swedish), and diminutives such as Martineau (France) and Martinelli (Italian). Curiously the Polish spellings of Marcinkowski and Marciszewski are locational, originating from a town called Martin, as is the Czech Martinovsky. Examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic registers of the period include John Martin of Plymouth, England, who was navigator to Sir Francis Drake, on his first "Round the World" voyage of 1577, whilst Christopher Martin was a member of the Pilgrim Fathers in 1620. Suarez Martinez was christened at Asuncion, Mexico, on October 2md 1774, whilst Jack Martinet was registered at Berkeley, California on September 27th 1909, and Jeffrey Lynn Martineau at Los Angelos on April 10th 1948. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Martin, which was dated 1166, in the charters of the county of Northampton, England, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189.   Back to top
Midlane
This rare name is a variant form of Maudling, which is of Middle English (1200 - 1500) origin, from "Maudeleyn", adopted from the Greek female given name "Magdalene". Magdalene is a byname, meaning woman from Magdala, which was a village on the Sea of Galilee, derived from the Hebrew "migdal", a tower. The name was given to the woman in the New Testament who was cured of evil spirits by Jesus, and who later became a faithful follower. The popularity of the given name increased with the supposed discovery of her relics in the 13th Century. The name variants include: Madelin(e), Madolin and Midland. Among the sample recordings in London are the marriages of Michael Midland and Jane Care on September 16th 1697 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and of George Midland and Mary Wright on August 19th 1772 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Maudeleyn, which was dated 1279Back to top
Moralee
Recorded in several forms as shown below, this is a Medieval English surname. However spelt it is said to be a dialectal variant and originally confined to the county of Northumberland, of the well known locational surname Morley. There are a number of Morley towns and villages in England and specifically in the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Durham, Norfolk, Yorkshire, as well as the village of Moreleigh, in Devonshire. The derivation of the place name is the pre 7th century word "mor", meaning moorland, marsh or fen, and 'leah', an area of cultivated land (a farm!) within a forest. The earliest recordings of the place name is in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 where Morley appears as Morlea (Norfolk), Moreleia (West Yorkshire) and Morlei, in Devon. Amongst the sample recordings found in Northumberland are the christenings of Elizabeth Moralee on February 26th 1708, and Anna Morallee on May 27th 1718. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Milo de Morleia.. This was dated 1196, in the Pipe Rolls of Buckinghamshire.   Back to top
Morris
This famous surname is popular in all the counties of the British Isles. It is however arguably French, and as such derives from the personal name "Maurice", itself from the Latin word "maurus" meaning moorish, or dark and swarthy. Introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, the name was first recorded in England in 1176 when Mauricius de Edligtona appears in the documents of the Danelaw, for the city of London. The surname dates back to the end of the12th century (see below), and further recordings include: John Morice (1275) in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire; Simon Morys (1296) in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and Robert Morisse (1308) in the Chartulary of the Priory of St. Thomas, the Martyr, near Stafford, Staffordshire. Early London church registers include exasmples such as the christening of William Morris, the son of John Morris, on August 15th 1563, at St. Andrews Undershaft, and the christening of Sara, the daughter of Robart Morris, on June 21st 1590, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate. Davie Morris, aged 18 years, was an early emigrant to the New World. He embarked from London on the ship "Truelove" bound for the Bermudas, in June 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jasce Mauricii. This was dated 1191, in the Pipe Rolls of the city of London, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199.   Back to top
Morris
This famous surname is popular in all the counties of the British Isles. It is however arguably French, and as such derives from the personal name "Maurice", itself from the Latin word "maurus" meaning moorish, or dark and swarthy. Introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, the name was first recorded in England in 1176 when Mauricius de Edligtona appears in the documents of the Danelaw, for the city of London. The surname dates back to the end of the 12th century with the first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jasce Mauricii. This was dated 1191, in the Pipe Rolls of the city of LondonBack to top
Oakley
This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places so called in England - at least fourteen of them - mainly in the southern and central counties. In the Domesday Book of 1086, these places are variously recorded as "Achelei", "Accleia", "Achelan" and "Acle", the derivation being from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ac", oak (tree) and "leah", here meaning "wood" or "forest". Locational names were usually given to the lord of the manor, to the local inhabitants, and especially to those who left their original home places and went to live or work in another town or village. One, Francis Oakley was an early settler in America, being listed as a resident of the Parish of St. Michael's in Barbados in 1678. An interesting namebearer was Octavius Oakley (1800 - 1867), a water-colour painter who exhibited at the Royal Academy, 1826 - 1860, and was a member of the Society of Painters in Water-colours, 1844. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hervey de Ocle, which was dated 1199, witness, in the "Assize Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199.  Back to top
Overton
This is an English locative surname. It originates from any of the several places called Overton in the counties of Cheshire, Derbyshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Shropshire, Lancashire, and the North Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded variously as Overtune, Uferantun and Ofaertune in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, it is believed that the name translates as "The upper farm" although other explanations are possible. It derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'ufera' meaning upper, or 'ofer', a riverbank, and 'tun', a farm or settlement; hence the upper farm or perhaps the settlement on a river bank. The surname not surprisingly is amongst the first to be recorded with the earliest spelling of the family name being Geoffrey de Overton. This was dated 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of ShropshireBack to top
Parr
This unusual name has three possible sources. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and locative from Parr in Lancashire, recorded as "Par" in the Assize Court Rolls of 1246, coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "pearr", enclosure; hence, "dweller at the enclosure". The name may also be from the Middle Low German "parre", parish, district, perhaps a nickname for a foundling. Finally, the name may be the Anglicized version of the Old French personal name "Perre" or "Pierre", Peter. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th CenturyBack to top
Ponder
Recorded in at least four spelling forms Pound, Ponder, Pounder, Pounds, Pund, and possibly an overlap with the surname Pond or Ponde, this is an English medieval surname. It may be locative and as such describes a person who lived by a pound, or came from a place called Pound, of which there are several examples around the country. The origin is the Olde English pre 7th century 'pund', the later pound. This was a walled enclosure, usually round with one entrance, and of which a number of fine examples still exist, where stray animals were 'impounded' until collected by their owners, who then had to pay a fine to the Pounder, a job descriptive surname. An alternative occupational origin which will certainly apply to some nameholders, is that the name describes a skilled iron worker, one who was responsible for manufacturing the ancient weights and measures known as 'pounds'. The derivation being again from a word spelt 'pund', although obviously the meaning is quite different. The surname is perhaps not surprisingly very early. Ralph le Pundere being recorded in the pipe rolls of the county of Westmoreland in the year 1176, whilst William Punder is recorded in the Curia Regis rolls for Yorksire in 1212. An early example of the surname with an occupational origin that is the keeper of a pound, is that of William Pund of Kent in 1206, whilst a first recording with a locative origin is possibly that of Ralph de Punda of the county of Hampshire in the tax rolls known as 'The Feet of Fines' in 1242.  Back to top
Sherwood
Recorded in various spellings which include: Sherwood, Sherewood, and Shirwood, this is an English medieval surname. It originates from a place called Sherwood, which is now a suburb of the ancient city of Nottingham, or from the forest of Sherwood, so famously, if sometimes not always entirely accurately, associated with the deeds of the famous outlaw Robin Hood. The place name derives from the pre 7th century Olde English words 'scir-wodu', which translate as 'the cultivated woodland', rather the opposite to the 'Hollywood' image of the forest of Sherwood, being something akin to a jungle! The surname being locational is a 'from' surname. That is to say that it was given to people after they left 'Sherwood' and moved elsewhere, as a form of identification. These early recordings include Margareta de Shyrwode in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, and interestingly the Sherwood's are still well recorded in the city of York in the 20th century. Other recordings from afar include William Sherwood who married Dionise Butler in London in1577 by civil licence, and in 1661, John Sherwood, who married Judith Cooke, at the church of St.Thomas, the Apostle, city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Scirwode. which was dated 1273, in the Pipe Rolls of Lincoln. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307.  Back to top
Skinner
This is an Anglo-Scottish surname, the origins in both countries being the same. Of all the great medieval guilds that of the Worshipful Company of Skinners was amongst those of highest honour, such was the importance of the skill. The derivation is from the Norse-Viking pre 5th century word "skinn" meaning a hide or pelt, and perhaps not surprisingly the surname is one of the first recorded as a hereditary occupational name. Early examples of these recordings include Ralph Le Skinnere, in the deeds of the county of Hertfordshire, England, for the year 1269, whilst in Scotland Stephan Skynnar is recorded as holding lands in Inverness in 1361. It is said that in the British directory known as the National Biography there are at least fifteen entries for the surname of Skinner. Amongst these entries are Bishop Robert Skinner (1591 - 1670), who was committed to the Tower of London in 1641, but survived to continue preaching into old age, the Rev. John Skinner (1721 - 1807), who was author, song writer and poet, as well as being a minister in Aberdeenshire, and a friend of Robert Burns, whilst James Skinner (1778 - 1841), formed the famous Skinner's Horse, part of the original Indian Army. In the census of the original colony of Virginia, New England, taken on February 16th 1623, appears the name of John Skinner of London. As the colony only dated from 1607, this makes him one of the very earliest of all the settlers in the New World.  Back to top
Smith
Recorded in the spellings of Smith, Smithe, Smythe, and the patronymics Smiths, and Smithson, this is the most popular surname in the English speaking world by a considerable margin.  Of pre-7th century Anglo-Saxon origins, it derives from the word 'smitan' meaning 'to smite' and as such is believed to have described not a worker in iron, but a soldier, one who smote. That he also probably wore armour, which he would have been required to repair, may have led to the secondary meaning. The famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles sometimes known as the first newspaper, in the 9th century uses the expression 'War-Smith' to describe a valiant warrior, whilst the later medieval Guild List of specialist trades has blacksmith, whitesmith, tinsmith, goldsmith and silversmith amongst its many members, but no trade of 'smith'. These descriptions of the skilled workers of the Middle Ages were exact, and it is our opinion after studying many early records that the original smiths were probably the guards of the local lord of the manor. This would account for the singular popularity of the name, as the early social records indicate that the trades of tailor and baker were much more prevalent than that of Smith in any form. What is certain is that over five hundred coats of arms have been granted to Smith nameholders, surely an indication of the soldier background, rather than a humble ironworker.  Back to top
Sporton
This very unusual name has its origins in a now vanished place, a not uncommon phenomenon in medieval England when whole villages were frequently "cleared" and their inhabitants dispersed to make way for sheep pastures. Villages were also "lost" due to natural disasters like the "Black Death" of 1348, or the accidents of war. At all events, all that remained of these villages was the surname, spread, eventually far away from the original location. It is possible that "Spaughton" also found in the modern idiom as "Spawton", "Sporton", "Spolton" and "Spalton is a variant of "Spalding" a place name in Lincolnshire, but since the name "de Spolton" is recorded in Surrey in the 13th Century it is more likely to be a Southern English locative name meaning "Spa(u)l's ton", "Spa(u)l's village". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Spaughton, christened. which was dated 16th November 1606, St. James Dukes Place, LondonBack to top
Stead
This name with spellings of Stead, Steed, Steade and Stede, has two distinct possible origins, both Olde English. The first is a locative surname from a place in the West Riding of Yorkshire called "Stead". This was named from the pre 7th Century word "stede", meaning an estate, or large farm. As early examples Richard de Stede of the county of Lancashire in the year 1276, and Roberd del Stede, of the county of Yorkshire, in 1336, are among the first recorded name bearers from this source. Secondly, the name may derive from the word "steda", meaning a stud-horse or stallion, and originally given as a nickname to a man of mettle or high spirits! As examples from this source Henry le Stede was noted in the register known as the Eynsham Cartulary of Oxfordshire, in 1281. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vchtred Stede. This was dated 1180, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of DevonshireBack to top
Stodhart
This surname is of English metonymic or occupational origin for a keeper or breeder of horses, deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "stod" meaning stud plus "hierde" a herdsman or keeper. Prior to the 17th Century "stud" denoted a place where horses were kept for breeding as opposed to the latter day definition of a place where a collection of horses were bred by one person. The first element may also be the old English "stott" meaning an inferior kind of horse or bullock; hence "keeper of bullocks".  In the modern idiom, the surname has many variant spellings including Stothart, Stothert, Stuttard, Stoddard, Stodhart, etc.. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Stodhurd, dated 1219, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire.  Back to top
Such
This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a topographical name for a dweller by the tree stump, or a nickname given to someone of stocky build, from the Old French, Middle English "s(o)uche", a tree stump (probably of Gaulish origin, apparently ultimately related to the Olde English "stocc"). In some cases, the reference may be to a primitive foot-bridge over a stream consisting of a felled tree trunk. Chuck itself actually derives from the Norman form "chouque". Modern variants of the surname in England include Souch, Sutch, Such, Zouch and Chucks. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), while Roger la Zuche is mentioned in the Book of Fees of Devonshire in 1212. Walter le Chuck appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. In some instances the name may have been brought from some small French place called "La Souche". Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire was held by Roger de la Zuche in 1200. Margaret, daughter of Richard Chuck, was christened on November 30th 1589 at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Lachuche, which was dated 1172, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189.  Back to top
Tadman
This interesting surname has two possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of three places called Tuddenham, in Norfolk, near Mildenhall in Suffolk, and near Ipswich in Suffolk, which are recorded respectively in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Toddenham, Todenham" and "Tudenham". All three places share the same meaning and derivation which is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Tudda", and "ham", homestead; hence, "Tudda's homestead". Locational surnames were given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area, and in this way the spelling of the name was often changed with varying regional pronunciations. William Tudman is noted in the 1524 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Secondly, the surname may be of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name or a nickname for a keen hunter of foxes, from the Middle English "tod(de)", fox, and "man", man. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings ranging from Todman, Tudman and Tadman, to Tedman, Teadman and Taddeman. On November 25th 1616, Mary Tadman married John Burton at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with two azure bars, over all a gold lion rampant holding in the dexter paw a red rose branch, the Crest being a demi fox proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Juliana Todman, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.  Back to top
Thompson (incl Thomson)
This name is one of the patronymic forms of the name Thom or Tom, diminutives of the male personal name Thomas. The given name is of Biblical origin, being an Aramaic byname meaning "twin", borne by one of Christ's disciples; in England the name Thomas was found only as the name of a priest before the Norman Conquest of 1066, but thereafter became one of the most popular male personal names, generating a wide variety of surnames. The patronymic forms from diminutives, such as Thomson (the Scottish form) and Thompson, found mainly in England and Northern Ireland, appear in the 14th Century, the first recording being from Scotland. The intrusive "p" of the English and Irish forms was for easier pronunciation, although there are two old wives tales that the 'p' meant 'prisoner', or in Ireland 'Protestant', both are incorrect. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Thomson, which was dated 1318, in the "Annals of Scotland".  Back to top
Tilson
This unusual surname is a metronymic from the medieval English female given name Till, a short form of the Norman name Mathilde, Matilda, composed of the Germanic elements "maht" meaning might, strength, plus "hild" battle. The learned form Matilda was much less common than the vernacular Mahalt or Maud, and the aphetic pet form Till. The surname dates back to the late 14th Century (see below). Early recordings include Willelmus Tyllson (1379) in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Tillson, Tylson, Tilles, and Tills. London Church Records list the christening of Robert Tylson on April 27th 1545 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, and the marriage of James Tilson to Jane Rebecca Hoy on June 30th 1580 at St. John the Baptist's, Shoreditch. A Coat of Arms granted to a Tilson family is gold, on a bend cotised between two blue garbs, a gold stringed mitre. The Crest is an arm embowed, silver vested and ruffled holding in the hand proper a red crosier gold head and point. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Tilleson, which was dated 1397, in the "Preston Guild Rolls", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Back to top
Timms
Recorded in several spellings including Timbs, Tims, Timms, Timmes, Tymms, Tyms, and Timson, this unusual and interesting surname is a medieval patronymic. It derives from the pre 7th Century personal name Tima or Timmo, short nickname forms of the early given name Dietmar. This translates as "Famous people" from the elements "theudo-meri". Early Germanic, Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names during the period of history known as The Dark Ages, from the 5th to the 12th century a.d., were often compounds whose elements were associated with the gods of Fire, Water and War. This name is a compound but seems to have a gentler background. The personal name Timothy of Greek origins and meaning "to honour god" provided nameholders as Timofeev in Russia and Tyma in Poland, but in the British Isles did not to have come into general use until after the Reformation in 1535. This would normally have made it much too late to become a surname as this surname dates from two centuries earlier (see below). Other surviving recordings include Richard Tyms, in the register of students at Oxford University in 1565, the christening of James Timms, the son of John and Priscilla Timms, on April 4th 1699, at St. Sepulchre Church, in the city of London, and the marriage of Edward Timbs and Henrietta Maria Smith at St. Antholins church, also in the city of London on July 1st 1752. The first known recording of the family name may be that of William Tymmes. This was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Edward III of England, 1327 - 1377.   Back to top
Trew
This unusual name has three possible origins, the first of which and the most generally applicable to modern-day bearers of the surname being of Anglo-Saxon origin, in the form of a nickname for a 'true', trustworthy person. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'treowe', in Middle English 'trow(e)' or 'trew(e)' meaning faithful, or steadfast. The second origin is topogaphical, and denoted someone living near a conspicuous tree, from the Olde English 'treow', Middle English 'trow' or 'trew'. The third possible origin is also topographical, and denotes 'residence at or by a hollow in the ground', a depression, from the Middle English 'trow', trough, or hollow. There are three variants of the name today, True, Trew, and Trow. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rannulfus Truue, which was dated 1180, in the Warwickshire Pipe RollsBack to top
Wells
Recorded in several spellings including Well, Wells, Welman, Wellman and Wellsman, this is an English surname. It has a number of possible origins - topographical, locative, or even job descriptive. If locative, it originates from any of the various places such as Well near Bedale in North Yorkshire, or Wells in the county of Norfolk and in Somerset. However spelt, all derive from the pre 7th century word "waella" which describes not a well, but a spring, and probably one that was associated with a holy place. "Wells next the sea", in Norfolk is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Guelle". As a topographical surname it denotes residence at or by such a spring or well, as in Roger Attewell of the county of Sussex in the year 1200. This is also a surname that survives in modern times as Attwell. As an occupational name with the suffix "-man", this probably denoted somebody responsible for looking after the village spring, although not necessarily in any other way associated with the various places called Well or Wells. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Toke de Wells. This was dated 1177, in the pipe rolls of the county of NorfolkBack to top
Wright
Recorded in several spellings including the popular Wright, as well as the much rarer forms of Wrighte, Wraight, Wraighte, Wreight, Wrate, and patronymics Wrightson and Wrixon, this is an early English surname. It is occupational and was used to describe a maker of machinery or objects, mostly in wood. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'wyrhta' meaning a craftsman, itself from the verb 'wyrcan', meaning to work or construct as in wheelwright, cartwright, millwright and wainwright. When 'wyrhta' was used on its own, it often referred to a builder of windmills or watermills. Perhaps not surprisingly this is one of the first occupational surnames to be recorded, and early examples include Robert Wricht of Shropshire in 1274 and Thomas le Wrighte of Derbyshire in 1327. Later examples of the surname recording include Joan Wright and Richard Trevesse who were married on May 29th 1552, at the church of St. Lawrence Jewry, in the city of London, whilst one of the earliest settlers in the New England colonies of America was Jeffery Wright, aged 18 years. He left from the Port of London aboard the ship "Truelove" bound for the Bermuda Island in June 1635. Probably the best known bearers of the name are the Wright brothers, Wilbur (1867 - 1912), and his brother Orville (1871 - 1948), the U.S. aviation pioneers, who designed and flew the first powered aircraft (1903). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Patere le Writh. This was dated 1214, in the tax rolls known as the "Feet of Fines" for the county of Sussex.  Back to top

Sources

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Author:  Barry Ennever

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