A Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson

By P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson

This vintage dictionary solutions questions corresponding to those and explains the origins of over 16,000 names in present English use. will probably be a resource of fascination to everybody with an curiosity in names and their background.

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His son, Odo arbalistarius, inherited the office and the lands (c1140 Holme) and owed his surname either to inheritance or to his office. He is also called Odo de Wrthesteda (c1150 Crawford) and his son Richard and his grandson Robert were both called de Worsted (1166, 1210 Holme). Throughout the twelfth and thirteenth centuries surnames of the type Johannes filius Hugonis are common, side by side with Johannes Hugo, where the son has his father’s christian name as his surname. Such names indicate the beginning of a hereditary surname, but proof that it became established is often lacking: Hugo filius Wisman, Hugo Wisman 1166–7 P (Nf) Walterus filius Abelot, Walter Abelot 1195–6 P (Sa) John le fiz michel 1292 SRLo, John Michel 1301 LoCt Paganus le Cachepol, father of William Payn 1285 Ass (Ess) John Gerveis son of Gervase de Pelsedun 1299 AD vi (K) Such names as the following are probably already hereditary: Reginald Ridel son of Hugh Ridel 1156–80 Bury (Nth) Ralph Belet son of William Belet 1176 P (Sr) William Brese son of Roger Brese 1210 P (Nf) Gote Ketel, brother of Peter Ketel; Thomas Ketel son of Peter Ketel c1200, 1218–22 StP (Lo) Clear evidence of heredity: A charter of 1153 of Agnes de Sibbeford, wife of Ralph Clement, is witnessed by Hugo Clement and William, son of Ralph Clement, who is later called Willelmus Clemens, with a brother Robertus Clemens (1155 Templars).

Margaret ate Budeles, Sibilla ate Stevenes 1332 SRSo) may also mean ‘servant at the beadle’s (house)’ and ‘servant at Steven’s’. No satisfactory explanation has been given of this final -s in surnames formed from personal-names. Fransson’s examples are late (1310). He regards them as elliptic genitives. 39 He cites Willelmus Johannis (1159–60) and three similar forms of 1229–35 as examples of ‘inflected genitives’ due to ‘filius and filia having fallen into disuse’. But surnames of the type Willelmus filius Johannis are common long after 1235.

A few examples are found in Domesday Book but they are not common until the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Most are of French origin but the majority of those surviving are English, with some translations of the French: Crakebone (Brisbane), Cutbush (Tallboys), and a few hybrids: Bindloss, Pritlove, Shakesby ‘draw sword’. Many of these nicknames are more or less derogatory occupation names: Bendbow (archer), Copestake (wood-cutter), Waghorn (trumpeter), Wagstaff (beadle), Catchpole (constable), Fettiplace (usher).

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