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«P.H.REANEY Litt.D., Ph.D., F.S.A. Third edition with corrections and additions by R.M.WILSON M.A. LONDON AND NEW YORK First published as A Dictionary ...»

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Scandinavian Personal Names Surviving in Modern Surnames

Aggi (ODa) (Agg), Aki (ODa) (Okey), Álfgeirr (Alger), Algot (ODa) (Allgood), Álfgrimr (Allgrim), Alli (ODa) (Alley), Arnkell (Arkell), (Osborn), Ásgautr (Osgood), Ásketill (Ashkettle), Áskell (Askell), Áslákr (Haslock), Ásvaldr (Oswald), Auti (ODa) (Autie) (Barae), Bóndi (Bond), Bóthildr (f) (Bottle), Brandr (Brand), Bróðir (Brothers) Dðlgfinnr (Dolphin), Dreng (Dring), Drómundr (Drummond) Elaf (ODa) (Ayloffe), Eiléfr, ODa Elef (Ayliffe), Eiríkr (Herrick) Farmcmn (Farman), Farðegn (Farthing), Fastúlfr (Fastolf), Fathir (ODa) (Fathers), Finnr (Finn), Fótr (Foot) Gamall (Gambell), Gauki (Gookey), Geiri (Garey), Gilli (Gill), Greifi (Grave, Greavey), Grímr (Grime), Grímhildr (f) (Grimmet), Gunnr (Gunn), Gunnildr (f) (Gunnell), Gunvor (f) (Gunner), *Guð(h)ugi (Goodhew), Guðmundr (Goodman), (Goodread) Hafleikr (Havelock), Haghni (ODa) (Hagan), Haki (Hake), Hákun (Hacon), Hálfdan (Haldane), Hámundr (Oman), Haraldr (Harold), Hasteinn (Hasting), Hávarðr (Haward), Hemmingr (Hemming), Hrafn (Raven), Hrafnhildr (f) (Ravenhall), Hrafnkell (Rankill), Hróaldr (Rowat), Hrólfr (Rolf) Ingialdr (Ingall), Ingiríðr, ODa Ingrith (f) (Ingrey, Ingley), Ingólfr (Ingell), Ingvar (ODa) (Ingar), Ívarr (Ivor) Karl(i) (Carl), Karman (Carman), Kaupmaðr (Copeman), Kel (Kell), (Kettleburn), Ketill (Kettle), Knútr (Knott), Kolbein (Colban), Kolbrandr (Colbran), Koli (Cole), Kalman (Coleman), Kollr (Coll), Kollungr (Colling), Kouse (Couse), Kupsi (Copsey) Lag(h)man (ODa) (Lawman), Langabein (Langbain), Lax (Lax) Magnus (Magnus), Móðir (Mothers) Oddr (Odd), Óleifr (Olliff), Ormr (Orme), Ottár (Otter) Rannulfr (Randolph) *Samke (Sank), *Sandi (Sandey), Segrim (ODa) (Seagrim), Sigarr (Siggers), Sigga (f) (Siggs), Sighvatr (Suett), Sigmundr (Simmonds), Sigridr (f) (Sired), Snari (Snarey), (Sarl), Steinn (Stein), Stígandr (Stigand, Styan), Stóri (Storey), Sumarlíðr (Summerlad), Svanhildr (f) (Swannell), Sveinn (Swain) þóraldr (Thorold), (Thurban), porfinnr (Turpin), *porfrøðr (Tollfree), porgautr (Thurgood), Porgeirr (Thurgar), Porgils (Sturge), pórhildr (f) (Turrill), pórir (Thory), porkell (Thurkell), pormundr (Thurman), porsteinn (Thurston) *Tófa-Hildr (f) (Tovell), Tófi (Tovee), Tóki (Took, Tookey), Tóli (Tooley), Topi (Toop), Tubbi (Tubb), Tunni (ODa) (Tunney), *Turk (Turk) Úlfr (Ulph), Úlfketel, Úlfkell (Uncle) Vestmaðr (Westman), Vígarr (Wigger), Vigot (ODa) (Wiggett), Víkingr (Wicking), Víðarr (Wither)

Anglo-Scandinavian Survivals

*Cytelferð (Kilvert), *Cytelrīc (Ketteridge), Healfdene (Alden), (Saffell), *Spracaling (Sprackling), *porbert, *purbert (Turbard), *porgifu (f) (Turreff), purcytel (Thurkettle), *Toll (Toll), *Tukka (Tuck), Walþēof (Waddilove, Wallett, Walthew)

Norman Names

Scandinavian names were used by Normans in France where ON Ás- occurs as An-which survives in Anketel, Ankin, Antin, Angood, Angold. Norman diminutives are found in Asketin and Turkentine. Norman Turstin (for Thorstein) survives as Tustin, Tutin, Dusting. Initial T for Th may also represent a Norman pronunciation in England, especially of names not found in Normandy, e.g. Tory for Thory.

Personal Names in Medieval London

Ekwall’s discussion of early London personal names (ELPN) is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by a detailed study of the names of a particular locality, and a perpetual challenge to others to do the same for other areas. In the early twelfth century, Old English personal names were still in living use in London, but gradually grow rarer and after 1200 are found only occasionally, apart from a few names which lived on and are still in use. Particularly common were such names as Ailward and Ailwin, Brichtmar, Godric and Godwin, Leofric and Leofwin, Wulfric, Wulfweard and Wulfwine. The only Old English woman’s name at all common was Edith. Rare in Old English were Eadwacer and Smeawine, and the feminine Eastorhild, whilst a few such as Godleofu and Wacerhild, both feminine, are unrecorded in Old English. We find a number of compounds in -ing: Bruning, Hearding, Sweting, and the unrecorded Funding and Sperling. Short forms were rare but we have Golde (f), Milde (f), Hunna, But and Werth.

Some Scandinavian names from late Old English times must have been current in twelfth-century London. Some may have been introduced direct from Normandy. Such names as Turgis are Norman in form. It is noteworthy that few of the Scandinavian names recorded in Domesday Book are found in London sources, but some 30 personal names (e.g. Askill, Esger, Ketel) are probably Scandinavian rather than Norman in origin.

Names like Thurstan, Thorold, when spelled Tursten, Torold, may be Norman in origin.

There is reason to believe that Old English names survived longer in the provinces than in the capital, where the fashion set by Normans would be followed more quickly. Old English names in London were often those of immigrants from the provinces. The old names were superseded by names introduced by the Normans and many of those with French names in the first two or three decades of the twelfth century must have been Normans by birth. Those with English names at the same period were as a rule of English descent, as, probably, were those with English names later in the century. But it does not follow that a French name necessarily denotes French descent. As early as c1100 it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children whilst there are only a few examples of sons or daughters of parents with French names being given English names. The earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and patrician families. Some Englishmen with French names must have been born c1090 or earlier. After 1100 it became a fashion for English families to give French names to their children. Some families were more conservative than others and continued to use the old names. Some gave French names to one or more of their children and English names to another or others. Thus, in a very few generations the Old English christian names were altogether disused in London, apart from a few special names, Alfred, Edmund, Edward and Godwin. Edmund is frequent in London between 1250 and 1350 but Edward occurs only occasionally. Edward I does not seem to have been popular in London and the few Edwards were probably named after the saint, Edward the Confessor. It is unlikely, therefore, that the popularity of Edmund was due mainly to Edmund, son of Henry III. Some, at least, of the London Edmunds came from East Anglia: Edmund de Suffolk 1309, Edmund de Bery 1346 (Bury St Edmunds), and others from places in Norfolk. These Edmunds were, no doubt, named after St Edmund, the martyr-king of East Anglia and founder of the monastery of St Edmundsbury, to whom a London church was dedicated.





The Norman-French names given by apparently English people to their children were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans and the names still most frequent in England: Geoffrey, Gilbert, Henry, Robert, Peter, John, etc., and the women’s names Agnes, Alice and Maud. The personal nomenclature of twelfth-century London was well on its way to the modern stage which was, in the main, reached in the thirteenth century.

The Breton Element

The large Breton contingent which fought at Hastings was rewarded with lands in England. At their head was Earl Alan of Richmond, a cadet of the ducal house, with a fee of the first importance in Lincolnshire, East Anglia and neighbouring counties. In the south-west, Judhael of Totnes had a fief which in the twelfth century owed service of 70 knights. In thirteenth-century Suffolk was a ‘Breton soke’. ‘There is, in fact, hardly a county in which this Breton element is not found, and in some counties its influence was deep and permanent…the Breton colony founded by Earl Alan of Richmond can still be traced, late in the twelfth century, by the personal names which give a highly individual character to records relating to the country round Boston, itself a town of Breton creation, and Louth. In these districts, as also in the North Riding of York, the Breton settlers of the eleventh and twelfth centuries preserved their ancient personal nomenclature with a conservatism resembling that of the Anglo-Scandinavian peasants among whom they lived…it was something more than the establishment of a few score knights and sergeants in military tenancies. It must have had the character of a genuine migration, though a migration upon a small scale.’30 In twelfth-century Lincolnshire Alan was as common a name as Simon and more popular than Henry and Adam. Other common Breton names were Brian, Conan, Constantine (with its short form Coste), Jarnegon, Justin (with its pet-form Just), Mengi, Samson, and Tengi, all surviving as modern surnames. The christian name of Judhael de Totnes is still found as a surname in Devonshire as Jewell, and elsewhere as Jekyll and Joel. In Essex, Helion Bumpstead, and in Devon, Upton Helions, owe their attributes to Tihel de Herion, their Domesday lord who came from Hellean in Morbihan. His christian name survived in Essex until the thirteenth century and is found as a surname at Barking in 1206 (Roger Tihell), whilst his surname, though rare, still lives on in Essex and Suffolk, in Devon and Somerset (v. Elion). Wiggens Green in Helion Bumpstead owes its name to the family of John Wygayn whose eponymous ancestor may well have been an actual follower of Tihel the Breton. Bretts in Aveley owes its name to John le Bret ‘the Breton’. In Aveley is a field, Bumpstead Mead, the last relic of a Bumpsted Hall named from Gilbert de Bumsted ad Turrim who seems to have been accompanied to Aveley by Bumpstead men of Breton descent whose names are found in the district in the thirteenth century (Wygan, Hervey, Alan, Bryce).31 In Essex, too, we find a twelfth-century, Mingghi. This Breton influence has left no small mark on our modern surnames.

The Celtic Element

Although Welsh surnames, as distinct from characteristic Welsh patronymic descriptions, were very late formations, the not inconsiderable number of immigrants from Wales into the border counties found their personal names treated exactly like English names in the formation of surnames. Thus surnames were formed from Welsh personal names and became hereditary in England long before hereditary surnames were known in Wales.

e.g. Kemble (1185), Meredith (1191), Morgan (1221), Owen (1221), Cadogan (1273), Maddock (1274), etc.

About 890–3 a body of Norwegians from Ireland entered Yorkshire and were followed by a greater number, probably between 919 and 952. These Norwegians had been settled in Ireland sufficiently long to become partly Celticized and they have left their mark on the modern map of Cumberland and North Yorkshire in a series of place-names containing Irish loan-words and in inversion compounds in which the defining element comes last: Aspatria, Kirkoswald, Kirkbride. They had also adopted Goidelic personal names some of which survive both in place-names and modern surnames. e.g. Coleman, Duncan, Gill, Murdoch, Neal, Patrick, Troyte.32 Some of these surnames are more common in Scotland where they originated independently.

The Final -s in Jones, Parsons, Stocks, etc.

Weekley has remarked33 that ‘the majority of monosyllabic, and many dissyllabic, local names are commonly found with -s, originally due to analogy with Wills, Jones, etc., where -s is the sign of the genitive. It will be found that this addition of -s in local names generally takes place whenever it does not involve an extra syllable or any exertion in pronunciation, e.g. Birks but Birch, Noakes but Nash, Marks but March, Meadows but Field, Sykes but Sich. The only important exception to this phonetic rule is Bridges, which is usually derived, not from bridge, but from Bruges, once commonly called Bridges in English. This -s is also added to specific place-names, e.g. Cheales from Cheal (Linc.),34 Tarbox from Tarbock (Lanc.), Burls from some spot in Essex formerly called Berle,35 Rhymes from Ryme (Dors.), etc.’ Elsewhere he asks, ‘but why always Summers or Somers with s and Winter without?’36 Generalizations on surnames are always dangerous. Both Summer and Winters survive, as does Fields. The final -s was formerly found in such names as (Ralph) Saches Hy 2 DC, (Richard) Ryches 1296 SRSx, (Alice) la Gegges 1310 ColchCt, and survives in

Hedges and Latches.37 In a number of local surnames, plurals are found quite early:

Hales (1180), Coates (1190), Howes (1212), Holmes (1219). The final -s of surnames from French place-names is retained or dropped quite arbitrarily, the variation, perhaps, being due to the difference between the English and French pronunciation: Caliss (Calais), Gamage (Gamaches), Danvers (Anvers), Amyas (Amiens), Challen (Chalons), Sessions (Soissons).

The final -s in surnames like Williams, Parsons, Carters, is a different problem. It

cannot be a sign of the plural. For Parsons, Vicars, etc., there are two origins:

(i) Alicia le Parsones 1327 SRWo, Margery le Vikers 1332 SRWa, Ralph le Prestes 1327 SRWo, where we have an elliptic genitive, ‘the parson’s (servant)’, etc. cf. Henricus homo Vicarii 1297 SRY. Malyna la Roperes (1311 ColchCt), described as a servant, was either the servant of the roper or of a man named Roper. Surnames like John Alysaundresman 1297 Coram (Bk), Robert Nicholesman 1309 AssSt, with others in knave, -sergeant, etc., are not uncommon, so that, whilst Gilbert le Potteres, Richard le Cokes (1327 SRWo) may mean ‘son of the potter or of the cook’, they might also denote his servant. But Philip le Redes (ib.) must be ‘servant of a man named Rede’. Thus, too, John Pastons (1327 SRWo), John Byltons (1327 SRC), where the surname is local, ‘servant of Paston or of Bylton’.

(ii) William atte Personnes 1327 SRSf, again elliptic, ‘(servant) at the parson’s (house)’, etc. Similarly Beadles, Stevens, etc. (Margaret ate Budeles, Sibilla ate Stevenes 1332 SRSo) may also mean ‘servant at the beadle’s (house)’ and ‘servant at Steven’s’.



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