By P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson
This vintage dictionary solutions questions equivalent to those and explains the origins of over 16,000 names in present English use. will probably be a resource of fascination to every body with an curiosity in names and their heritage.
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Extra info for A Dictionary of English Surnames
54 Robert de Stafford, a brother of Ralph de Toeni (a surname surviving into the fourteenth century), took his surname from the head of his English barony. The fact that father and son bore the same surname is not always, as assumed by Tengvik and Fransson, a proof that the surname was hereditary. Robertus Balistarius held Worstead (Norfolk) in 1086 by serjeanty of performing the duties of arbalistarius. His son, Odo arbalistarius, inherited the office and the lands (c1140 Holme) and owed his surname either to inheritance or to his office.
The upper classes—mostly illiterate—were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary. It is noteworthy that in London, with its organized government and elaborate records, surnames became fixed early among the patrician classes. There is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. Towards the end of the Old English period, a limited number of personal names were becoming particularly popular.
Crawlboys ‘fell wood’, Tallboys ‘cut wood’, Warboys ‘guard wood’, and Hackwood, are all nicknames for a forester, Whitepayn and Blampin ‘white bread’, Havercake ‘oat bread’, and Buntflower ‘sieve flour’ for a baker. In addition, we find Wendout and Startout for a messenger, Shakelance and Lanceleaf for a soldier, Packstaff for a pedlar, Treadwater and Trenchemer ‘cut the sea’ for a sailor, Treacle for an apothecary, and Wagpole for a minor official. 50 The main difficulty with nicknames lies in the interpretation of them.
A Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson