By P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson
This vintage dictionary solutions questions similar to those and explains the origins of over 16,000 names in present English use. it will likely be a resource of fascination to each person with an curiosity in names and their historical past.
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Additional info for A Dictionary of English Surnames
It is unlikely that, as Fransson suggests, tradenames were used as nicknames and that a man might be called ‘the shoemaker’ because he mended his own boots. But it is difficult to account satisfactorily for names like Mower, Ripper (reaper), Sawer (sower), which must have been only seasonal occupations. A marked feature is the surprising variety and specialized nature of medieval occupations, particularly in the cloth industry where Fransson (p. 30) has noted 165 different surnames, whilst the metal trades provide 108, and provision dealers 107 different names.
Whether local surnames, because of their frequency, had any influence on the fixing of surnames is doubtful. For barons and important land-holders to derive their surnames from their fiefs or manors was natural, but these form only a small proportion of the whole. , became hereditary is a problem for which material is seldom available. In London, local surnames indicated the place from which the man had come, and became hereditary early. 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.
At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. In addition, such names as Pope, Cardinal, Legate, can never have been surnames of office in England, and must have been originally pageant-names. It has often been held that the absence of the article points to a hereditary surname, a supposition which cannot be upheld for early in the twelfth century the article is frequently omitted and the same man is called both Richard turnur and le turnur (12th DC). It is unlikely that, as Fransson suggests, tradenames were used as nicknames and that a man might be called ‘the shoemaker’ because he mended his own boots.
A Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney, R. M. Wilson