Guide Middle English Surnames in West Yorkshire

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In so doing they took, or were given, as their surname the name of their original village. This surname however has largely retained its original spelling, perhaps because it was so unique in its form. The early recordings taken from surviving church registers include Thomas Blenkinsop, christened at the church of St.

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The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Blenkinsopp. He is given as being a Freeman of the city of York, in She wonders if through this famous ancient name her line could now be linked to Henry Bolingbroke King Henry IV who laid claim to the English crown in Without serious genealogical research it is not possible to confirm or deny a relationship to the king who reigned until Henry was born in Bolinbroke in , but then again so were many more people who spread far and wide in search of work.

Today there are two places with the name — in Lincolnshire and Surrey, the former being the most likely source of the surname. However, the Bolling surname is much more prevalent in the White Rose county than anywhere else. Also, in medieval England a heavy drinker was often called a bolling. There are several other possibilities, including that Bolling may be a corruption of Bowling, the place-name in Bradford where there is Bolling Hall. By it was owned by William Bolling, and his family owned the estate until the late fifteenth century.

It was originally given as a name for someone who lived in a small hut or bothy — especially temporary accommodation such as that used by a cowman or shepherd. It stems from the Middle English word both e but the word is of Scandinavian origin which is why it is more common in northern England.

There is also a place called Boycott sometimes recorded as Boycote in Berkshire but the largest concentration of the surname has centred around Telford in Shropshire, with a growing population in the Wakefield area. Her maiden name was Speight — a surname rarely found outside the boundary of Broad Acres. In this case it could also have been given to a great chatterer, or one who talked a great deal… especially when asked for an opinion on cricket?

The Brady bunch were a powerful clan in Ireland, their chief holding control over a large territory lying to the east of Cavan from pre thirteenth century. In Scotland Brady families migrated to Lanarkshire and Angus. In England most ended up in Lancashire, Durham and Yorkshire.

Middle English Surnames in West Yorkshire

Another, less likely origin for the name suggests it being a nickname given to a person with excellent eyesight. With Irish accents and language being difficult for many early scribes to translate, and with several different possible name origins, it is no wonder we encounter so many different spellings today. Most early migrants from Bristol headed east for work in London. But at least one strand saw sense and headed for Yorkshire instead. The later addition of an accent on the e is even more baffling, as this has also been recorded over the years as a macron, a tilde and an umlaut.

Perhaps this addition was initially either another flight of fancy by Patrick or a hint to others as to how he wanted the surname pronounced. What is certain, however, is that his original surname of Brunty also recorded as Prunty is an anglicised version of the Gaelic given name Proinntigh. It is recorded that back in a chap called Thomas Bythebrokesbank of Warley was paid to help with the rebuilding work at Erringden Park, near Halifax. In the Poll Tax Records of he was down as Thomas By-the-brokes-bancke of Elland, but just two years later the same man was recorded as Thomas de Brokesbank when employed to supervise the removal of Warley corn mill and rebuild it at Luddenden.

In the next Poll Tax he was registered as Thomas Brokesbank. Brooksbank school in Elland was founded by one of the clan years ago. He was the one who acquired Healaugh Manor. Sir Gilbert Brooksbank was a priest stemming from those early Warley families who lived at Bank House. Today, they have calmed down a little, and the less affluent Brooksbanks are mainly concentrated around the BD postcode area. BROWN Calling people names because of the way they look could get you in trouble today, but some years ago it was considered normal.

There were a few others spread around the country and several with slightly different spellings of the name, such as Copestake, Copestick and Capstack — the variations stemming from regional accents and the way early scribes wrote the name in official documents. So the original bearer of the surname would have been a stake or stick cutter by trade. The popular name Cooper comes from the same French word and was given to someone who cut or shaped wood, such as a barrel maker. The first recorded spelling of the surname is thought to be that of Geoffrey Coupstak, dated in the Register of the Freemen of the city of York.

Clegg is actually a place-name called after an Old Norse word, kleggi, meaning haystack. There may originally have been more than one place with the name but the most likely location is in east Lancashire. Many early Cleggs soon saw the light and moved into Yorkshire and are recorded here as early as the 14th century.

Clegg emerged as an influential family in Lancashire, flourishing from their original family seat at Clegg Hall, just outside what is now Rochdale. One of the most common and once uniquely Yorkshire surnames using the word is Barraclough and variants such as Barrowclough and Barrowcliffe. At one time almost all those called Barraclough lived in the Halifax area but the clan has spread all around the world, with one branch being early settlers in America. The first recorded written spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter del Baricloughe, which was dated in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield.

It is thought the original site for the place Barrowclough was near Shibden where you can still find Barrowclough Lane. Shropshire has been the principal home for the Corbett clan — a common name there since the thirteenth century. The family went on to hold lands in Scotland too, where the surname is still popular. Corbet, from which the surname is derived, is a French word for a little raven or crow. The first bearer of the name may have resembled the bird either through his ferocity or his looks. There has always been a profusion of wild garlic, of the allium family, growing in the region and the pungent smell in late spring and early summer would certainly have made an impression on early visitors.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Paulinus de Cravene in , recorded as a Freeman of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward I. It was also noted in the latter half of the thirteenth century when Agnes de Craven and Johannes de Craven, appear in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire The Cravens moved in search of work into the more populated and industrialised areas as the centuries went by and now the majority can be found in the Bradford and Leeds areas. Before our erudite editor removes the capital C from the last sentence let me explain that I do mean Crazy the surname.

It is estimated that approxiamately 3, Britons who share the name and that around five per cent of them live in the Leeds area. I checked in the census to see if I could find a Crazy family living in Yorkshire and sure enough there is a Jonathan Edward Crazy aged 41 living with his wife and three children in Gilling West, just a few miles north of Richmond. There will be some people who have changed their surname by deed poll to Crazy but for most it will probably be a corruption of the more common name Creasey found mainly in Suffolk. It is thought the original bearers may have come from Crecy in Seine-Inferieure, France, which was a famous battle ground during the Hundred Years War.

There is also an Old English word, creas, which means elegant, and some believe the name could have been given originally as a nickname to someone who dressed in a fine and elegant manner. The Crosby surname is more popular in Yorkshire than in any other county, with the biggest concentration today living around the York region. Today it is classed as a grange of the abbey but back in the time when surnames were being deemed necessary life there would have been very different.


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Perhaps Bing was dreaming of a white rose Christmas? Obvious examples are Baker, Butcher and Carpenter etc.

Middle English Surnames in West Yorkshire by Wendi Dunlap

Back in medieval times when surnames started to become more necessary, musicians and entertainers were valued members of towns and villages, giving rise to many surnames such as Fidler, Piper, Harper — and Crowther. The latter is generally considered to be a Yorkshire surname deeply rooted in the Huddersfield and Halifax areas. Around the country are several variations of the name, such as Crewther, Crother and Crowder which all give us a clue as to its original meaning. They alerted the townsfolk to danger by playing loud instruments, and they also performed at civic ceremonies.

The top postal town for Crowthers is reckoned to be Halifax, and it is estimated there are around One expert has also suggested Darnton is a shortened version of Darrington, another Yorkshire town. It may sound incredible nowadays but you have to remember that very few people could read or write several hundred years ago when surnames began, and scribes had great difficulty understanding local accents. The area showing the largest number of written records since is Staindrop just north of Darlington north of the A John Darnton was the thirtieth abbot of Fountains Abbey and was responsible for much work including the West Window, over which is a stone corbel carved as a representation called a rebus of the man himself.

The rebus is now very badly corroded but is supposed to show a bird a dern holding a barrel a ton. Two readers have written in asking about their family names of Learoyd and Deighton. Nowadays the surname is most popular around the Harrogate to York region. Unlike Deighton, the place called Learoyd never developed into a modern-day settlement.

It was probably originally just a farmstead or tiny settlement where habitation faded out or it changed name. It is very likely this place was around the Calder Valley area. Probably the first written record of the name is to be found in the Poll Tax returns for the West Riding of when Alicia Legh-rode was required to hand over money to the King. The biggest concentration of the name nowadays is around Huddersfield. Daniel does not appear in England before the Conquest of , suggesting that it was introduced by the Normans as both a given and a surname.

The Denial strand may have started somewhere in the Sheffield area as by that is where the main concentration of Denials were to be found in the country. It is thought that only around three people in a million are named Denial in the UK. A quick scan through the census returns shows that 3, people were registered with one version or other of the name. Only a handful of the total can be found outside the white or red rose regions.

Fourteenth-century records indicate that this place was in an area about six miles north of Blackburn, on the river Ribble close to the ancient boundary with Yorkshire. Many small settlements, especially in Pennine areas, disappeared when landowners made way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade from the fifteenth century onwards. Early records of the name are shown to be that of Adam del Dewyhirst, which was dated in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, and Roger de le Dewyhurst in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey a register of charters, title deeds etc written around This was once an occupational name for a female dyer of cloth.

However, the first recorded spelling of the family name is thought to be that of Robert le Dighestre, dated , in the Somerset County Registers. Without detailed individual research it is impossible to confirm or deny but links are possible in both cases. Drake, which probably derives from a nickname, possibly from dragon or the male duck, was quite widespread from the twelfth century with concentrations in Devon, Dorset, Norfolk and the West Riding by the sixteenth century.

William Drake of Shibden, near Halifax, is mentioned in documents and a Drake family was in possession of Horley Green, Northowram, from the thirteenth to the nineteenth century. These Drakes were said to have come from Devon, birthplace of the famous Sir Francis Drake By the mid s Drakes were to be found mainly in the Northowram area, Thornton, near Bradford, as well as in Huddersfield, Leeds and Sheffield.

The Raleighs are also an ancient Devon family, with the name probably stemming from a place-name in that area.

Rawley, Rayleigh and Rawleigh are all variants. It is easy to imagine that an early scribe could translate Riley as Raleigh when listening to anyone with a thick Irish accent. Of the three bearers of the surname recorded in England in the British census one was born in Italy, one in Ireland, and one in Russia. But it is possible that the distant ancestors of anyone called Earnshaw had the privilege of witnessing these magnificent birds in flight. The original name would have been given to a place — probably no longer in existence, on the edge of the moors between Yorkshire and Lancashire — which was taken on as a surname during medieval times as people left their birthplace to find work elsewhere.

By the nineteenth century there were more Earnshaws in the Huddersfield area than anywhere else in the country. In the s Leeds was the area where it was more prevalent than anywhere else in the country, probably because people moved from rural regions to work in the factories. The original owners of the name would have come from a similarly-named place. His father died when he was only eight and Edith remarried a catholic — and we all know what his consequent upbringing led to. There are still many Fawkes families living in Yorkshire and elswhere in the UK — and there is a great variation in the spelling of the name, such as Faulks, Faulkes, Foulks, Foulkes and more.

They all stem from the same source, probably brought over as a first name by the Normans in This name would originally have been given as a nickname for a person thought to resemble a falcon in some way, either by appearance or action. Of those, less than a dozen lived outside Yorkshire… and most of those few resided just over the border in Lancashire. The vast majority lived in the Halifax area and this for genealogists usually means that those whose surname is spelled as Fawthrop all sprang from a single family.

At some stage during the history of the name one scribe wrote down Fawthrop and the spelling stuck with this particular branch. There are records for at least seven different spellings of the name and there are probably even more stretching back to medieval times. Medieval dialect was much stronger and peculiar to a specific area than it is today — even within the same county, — and spelling was certainly not universal. Most of them remain in Yorkshire, with the largest congregation being around the Keighley-Haworth region.

Down the years some of those who study surnames have come up with the obvious conclusion that the original bearer of the name was someone who dealt with feathers, such as arrowmakers, quill makers, quiltmakers etc. The trade of feather mongers was recorded from the thirteenth century. No one really knows the true origin as our language and pronunciation has changed so much down the centuries… take for example the name Featherstone — it has nothing to do with feathers.

In fact, the Census for England lists only people with the name. It originated in the Sowerby area of Halifax and has been recorded there since the s.

Yorkshire surnames

Gawkro d ger and several more different spellings was initially a place-name. An eminent genealogist called George Redmonds proved that not all those born with the strange name wanted to keep it, and traced evidence of name-changing to amongst others: Barker, Platts, Brigg, Rodgers, Gawke and even Cockrobin — a nightmare for anyone wanting to trace a family tree. I have a Geldart branch in my own family tree dating back to the s.

The family lived on the Yorkshire-Lancashire border near Bentham. The name has the same origin as similar ones such as Geldard, Gelderd and Gelder — usually given to someone who looked after gelded horses. Today, the biggest concentrations of the name can be found in the Bradford and Harrogate postal areas. So originally, as was common in medieval England, the name would have first been given as a nickname which then developed into a first name and later a surname.

The Glewe family is mentioned several times in the parish register of Masham during the early s. Only around 27 out of every million people have surname Glew or Glewe, and back in Doncaster boasted the largest concentration of Glewes. Make that 13, now that our editor has recently joined the clan. A grainger was an important chap, usually working for the Lord of the Manor in medieval or even earlier times, responsible for overseeing the collection of rent in kind into the barns and storehouses of the manor.

The name is popular in Yorkshire but the biggest concentration is in the Midlands.

Collecting History of the Circus in America

Hardisty was one of the dominant family names in Nidderdale for centuries. In William and Arthur Hardisty bought the manorial rights to part of the Forest of Knaresborough. The surname goes back much further in Nidderdale history. Originally, Hardisty was a placename which has been recorded in several ways down the centuries, spelling varying as we changed our language. Even though the majority of Hardistys seem to have stuck to their Yorkshire roots, one branch did spread afar and gain fame. Richard Charles Hardisty became a politician in Canada and was so revered he had a village in Alberta named after him.

There was also a Hardisty amongst the early settlers to New England in One theory is that it was an occupational name given to a member of the Medieval Watch, a sort of early policeman. It has also been said that it comes from a continental personal name Arker or even that early holders of the name arrived from Harcourt in Normandy. Some claim it was a nickname for an eavesdropper while others say that a harker was a kind of spear used by ancient armies and so the name was given to someone who made or used them.

My preference for the Yorkshire clan is that it derives from a place in Swaledale which we now know as Harkerside but which was once recorded, amongst other names, as Herkey. Back in in the s there were families called Harkaye listed in Swaledale manorial rolls and church records but by the s the descendants of these families had changed the spelling to Harker… probably due to the fact that few people could read or write or the person recording the name could not clearly understand the local accent.

The origin of that place-name is likely to be from a personal name of an early Norse settler. However, others believe the surname stems from what is now known as Haddlesey, near Selby. The surname was first seen in writing in the Yorkshire Poll Tax returns for where Willelmus de Hatyray and Amicia Hattisray appear. Pronunciation and spelling for many surnames and place-names have changed dramatically over the centuries The two places may explain the distinct regions of distribution for the surname.

Former politician and author Roy Hattersley is famously connected with Sheffield, so he may well stem from the south Yorkshire clan. Other famous Hattersleys were Richard and his son George, the earliest manufacturers of power looms, based in Keighley. There could once have been more than one place called Hebblethwaite but the most popular would seem to have been in the Calderdale area. When surnames first came into common use, around the 13th century, many people took on the name of the place where they originated when they moved from the village, probably for work ,and settled somewhere else.

The surname is derived from a minor locality, probably near Halifax, which cannot now be identified. The Scandinavian personal name Hemingr was still in use during the s when many surnames started being used. However, tracing Hemingway ancestors can prove difficult.

Spelling of this particular name has fluctuated greatly down the centuries. One researcher who has carried out a one-name study on Hemingway www. There are also other place-names stemming from that original personal name, such as Hemingfield near Wombwell, and Hemingby in Lincolnshire. And there are surnames which have derived directly from Hemingr, like Hemmings, or one ancestor of mine I discovered from the s whose surname was Hermyne.

In the Census for England there were 1, Hemingways registered, with around three-quarters of them living in Yorkshire. Today it is thought there are around The Census shows there were 3, Hepworths registered in the country — around 70 per cent of them living in Yorkshire. Over the centuries the majority of Hepworths did not travel very far. The Hearth Tax returns for the West Riding stated that many of 40 taxpayers named Hepworth had moved to the nearby Calder Valley or the mining areas of south-west Yorkshire where work was available.

It is thought that there are less than 9, Hepworths around the world with the highest concentration now being in the Heckmondwike area — which happens to be where my late mother, a Hepworth herself, was born. Hepworth is certainly high — and steep. It is said that Hepworth was the most northern point reached by the plague of which devastated London. According to local legend the disease arrived via cloth brought from the capital. To save as many residents as possible, the village was split into two parts at Barracks Fold.

How I traced the evolution of my Surname into the medieval period

Those who were infected were isolated in one half. There are several places around the country called Hesketh — today the best known being Hesketh Bank, near Southport. You will still find Hesketh Farm and Hesketh Lane etc. There are also other places in Yorkshire named Hesketh and they were all originally to with horses. Return to Book Page. Paperback , 1 , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Nov 10, Sandy rated it it was amazing. This is about the time things were shifting there from descriptive individual bynames to hereditary surnames, and this is a thorough examination of the names mentioned in two years of court rolls about 75 years apart, including a list of all the distinct names found and what they mean.

Well written and engaging, even to a someone wno's not a medieval surname connoisseur; would be valuable reference material for those interested in names, or that time period in that location. Feb 10, Mhd marked it as to-read. Ships with Tracking Number! Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!

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