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Presented to the 


by the 









a* 3 


Vicar of Ulverston, 


1 This Booke containes the names of mortall men ; 

But thear's a Booke with characters of golde, 
Not writ with incke, with pensill, or with pen, 

Wheare Code's elect for ever are inrolde, 
The Booke of Life ; wheare labor thou to bee, 
Beefore this Booke hath once re-gistred thee." 

From a Church Register. 


\The right of translation is reserved.} 

,\ . LSORAR7 



HEN the enterprising and energetic 
editor of The Fireside wrote suggesting 
that he should print my articles on the 
London Directory, published at various 
intervals during the last two years in 
that magazine, I was somewhat taken 
aback. I will candidly confess that 
half of them, or thereabouts, were written with some degree of 
care : I will as honestly admit that the rest were indited amid 
the press of heavy ministerial labours, and had to take their 
chance, as regards manner, method, and matter. Nevertheless, 
I may add that, however wanting in order and sequence 
several chapters appeared on paper, I was not afraid for the 
accuracy of their contents. My only credit for this, supposing 
my lack of fear to be well founded, is that which attaches to 
diligent research. The only true means of discovering the 
origin of our surnames is to find the earliest form of entry. 
Light upon that, and half the difficulty vanishes. This is a 
means which is as open to any of my readers as myself more 
so in the case of those who dwell in the metropolis. 

I take this opportunity of apologising to many readers of The 


Fireside, who have written to me asking for information in 
respect of their own, or some other name they were interested 
in. A few I have been able to answer ; the rest have had to lie 
by, for I have not had the time or health to attend to them. I 
only wish there was the possibility of this preface meeting the 
eye of my American cousins. I have a large batch of letters 
of inquiry, from the other side of the Atlantic, to scarcely one 
of which have I been able to make reply. I feel truly sorry, 
for I would not seem to be wanting in courtesy to one of them. 
These more distant inquiries have resulted rather from the 
publication of " English Surnames " (issued by Messrs. Chatto 
and Windus, Piccadilly), than the articles in The Fireside. 
And I would take this opportunity of recommending such of 
my readers as have become interested in the science of 
nomenclature, through a perusal of these elementary papers, 
to study that work. I can do this the more readily as I 
have no pecuniary interest in the sale thereof ! 

Not the least of the pleasures attending the writing of these 
papers has been the opportunity it gave me of making personal 
acquaintance with the Editor. I trust God will bless him in his 
most useful enterprise. 














OFFICERSHIP . . . . . . . . . 98 



NICKNAMES . . . . . . ; '< . ' ' . 132 

NICKNAMES (continuecT) .. ... . - . . .148 



LL proverbs are not necessarily true, 
but that which asserts that "every 
man has his hobby" few will gain- 
say. Nothing in a house so well 
betrays this hobby as the owner's 
bookcase. It may be large, or it 
may be small, but there the secret lies. One man's 
hobby is angling, and his shelf begins with quaint 
Isaac Walton, and ends with the Field newspaper 
of last week. Another has a liking for natural 
science, and his library is a vade mecum of its 
mysteries. A third oftentimes a lady loves ferns, 
and her study is a little compendium of that curious 
literature that has all but wholly sprung up within 
the present generation. Even the young lady's 
shelf of poems, or novels, or histories, betrays, if 
not the bent of her mind, the bias of her education. 

My hobby is Nomenclature, and my library be- 
trays my weakness in what class of books, do you 
think? directories! You would think I was a postal 


official. I have London Directories, Provincial Town 
Directories, and County Directories. I have even a 
Paris and a New York Directory. But herein lies a 
strange truth. I find as much pleasure in perusing 
these directories as any schoolgirl over her first and 
most sensational novel. The grand finale of murders, 
suicides from third-storey windows, and runaway 
weddings, all so thrillingly blended, cannot be half so 
absorbing to her not that I recommend her to read 
such things as the last chapter of the London Post 
Office Directory, from Y to Z, is to me. It is the 
conclusion of one of the grandest and most highly 
wrought romances ever put together by the ingenuity 
of man. Oftentimes in the evening I take it down 
from my shelf, and I never feel tempted to skip the 
pages. Nay, when I have at last got to Z, I can 
begin at A again with but freshened interest ; for 
the Directory will bear reading twice. 

The London Directory, to every one who has the 
key that unlocks its treasures, is at once an epitome 
of all antiquarian knowledge. In it I can trace 
the lives of my countrymen backwards for many a 
century. In it is furnished a full and detailed account 
of the habits and the customs of my ancestry the 
dress they wore, the food they ate, six hundred years 
ago ; though that it is not so far back as the Welsh- 
man's pedigree, which hung from his sitting-room 
ceiling to the floor, and half-way up had a note to 
the effect that "about this time Adam was born." 
No, I can but pretend to go up some eighteen or 
twenty steps of the ladder of my family nomen- 
clature. Nevertheless, by one glance at your name 


I can tell you unless its spelling be hopelessly 
corrupted whether the progenitor of your race was 
Scotch, Irish, English, Norman, French, German, or 
even Oriental. I can tell you what was his peculiar 
weakness, or his particular vocation in life. I can 
declare the complexion of his hair ; whether he was 
long or short, straight or crooked, weak or strong. 
I can whisper to you what his neighbours thought of 
him ; whether they deemed him generous or miserly, 
churlish or courteous. Yes, sometimes I must tell 
you unpleasant truths about your great, great, great 
(ad infinitum) grandfather. For the Directory is 
remarkably truthful; it won't spare anybody, high 
or low, rich or poor. I have heard people telling of 
the greatness of their ancestral name, and the said 
name on their visiting card was laughing at them all 
the time " behind its back." I have seen men dwelling 
in back slums contented with their sphere, and yet 
ignorant of the fact that they bore a sobriquet which 
six centuries ago would have brought them respect 
from the king on his throne down to the humblest 
cottager in the land. Oh, the ups and downs of life, 
as related in this big romance, put to paper by prosaic 
clerks, who never smiled at the fun, nor dropped a 
tear at the distress, simply because they lacked the 
manual that should explain its merriment and in- 
terpret its pathos ! Hieroglyphics, believe me, are 
not confined to Egyptian obelisks or Oriental slabs. 
But some reader, perchance, will say, " What do 
you mean ? Is there anything more in a surname 
than the individuality it gives to the present bearer ? 
In itself is it not purely accidental ? " Of course it is 


accidental. A fossil shell is accidental ; but place it 
iri the hand of a geologist, and he will talk for five 
days upon it, barring the time he will want for eating 
and sleeping. And a surname is a fossil not millions, 
of years old, may be, like the shell ; only six hundred 
still a fossil, and therefore stereotyping the state and 
condition of human life at the period when it came 
into being. A surname not only gives individuality 
to the present bearer, but is a distinct statement 
of some condition or capacity enjoyed or endured 
by the first possessor. An instance will prove this. 
Take the name of " Cruikshank." There must have 
been some particular ancestor so designated because 
he had a " crooked leg." That is a fact to start with. 
Do you want to know where he lived, and when ? 
Well, there is no great difficulty in the matter. The 
very spelling " cruik," and not " crook," proves that 
he was a north countryman. Is that all ? No. The 
word " shank " shows that he received this nickname 
before "leg" had come into ordinary use. Leg is 
always used for shank now, yet it is first found in 
England about the year 1250. It is comparatively 
modern. Hence there is no surname that I know 
of with " leg " as an ingredient.* In later days he 
would have been called " Bow-leg." Once more, 
nickname-surnames are scarcely ever found to be 
hereditary before the year 1200. Here then I glean 
four facts about " Cruikshank " : 

(i) The first Mr. Cruikshank was bow-legged. 

* Legge or Leg is Leigh, a meadow, and therefore local. 
J ohn de Leg is found in the Hundred Rolls. 


(2) He came from the borders of Scotland, or still 
more north. 

(3) He lived previous to the year 1400. 

(4) And not earlier than the year 1200. 

I have taken this instance hap-hazard. I might 
have selected an exacter illustration, but this will 
answer my purpose. It is possible my reader will 
now say, "But there must be a good substructure 
of primary knowledge laid before I can take up the 
London Directory, and pretend to be immensely 
interested in it, and tell my friends what capital 
reading it is." Of course, every true pleasure must 
be bought, and study will purchase infinitely higher 
delights than money can ever do. It is partly that 
you may learn how to acquire that necessary elemen- 
tary knowledge that I am about to write these short 
chapters upon the Londor Directory. 

Before I begin, let me say a few words about 
personality and locality. We should always begin 
at the beginning. The preacher never starts at 
fourthly ; soup by some mysterious law ever precedes 
fish. Remember, the necessity For individuality has 
given us our Names. The need of an address has 
originated our Directories. 

(i) Individnalization. The word .surname means 
an added name i.e., a sobriquet added to the personal 
or baptismal name. Why ? Because one was not 
sufficient to give individuality to the bearer. Adam 
and Eve, and Seth, and Abel, and Joseph, and Moses, 
all were enough while population was small ; but 
manifestly such simplicity could not last. In the 
wilderness there were, say, 2,500,000 Israelites. How 


could one suffice there, especially if " Caleb " or 
" Joshua" had become so popular that there were, say, 
50 or 100 of each in the closely-packed community ? 
It was not enough : therefore we find a surname 
adopted, that is, an added name. " Joshua, the son of 
Nun" " Caleb, the son of Jephunneh " are amongst 
the world's first surnames. In Directory language this 
is simply "Joshua Nunson," or "Caleb Jephunneh." 
Simon Barjonas is nothing more than Simon Johnson. 
Remember, however, these were not hereditary. They 
died with their owner, and the child, if there was one, 
got a surname of his own. Surnames did not become 
hereditary in Europe even till the beginning of the 
twelfth century, and among the lower classes not till 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 

Imagine London with, say, 3,000,000 souls, each 
possessing but one name. Picture to yourself to- 
morrow's post bringing 1000 letters to " Mr. John," 
or " John, Esquire." We can't conceive it. No, a 
surname became an imperative necessity when popu- 
lation increased, when men herded together, and com- 
munities began to be formed. It is curious to note 
that some of these surnames have become so common 
that they have failed of their object, and ceased to give 
individuality. There are 270,000 " Smiths " in England 
and Wales, and as many "Joneses." They would 
together form a town as large as Manchester, or 
separately as big as Leeds. William Smith scarcely 
individualizes the bearer now ; so he either gets three 
names or four names at the font, or his identity is 
eked out by a remarkable single name, perchance 
" Plantagenet," or"Kerenhappuck," or "Napoleon," or 


" Sidney." The worst of it is that " Sidney" was so 
greedily fixed upon after it became famous that 
there are now hundreds of " Sidney Smiths," and thus 
it has ceased to give proper individuality. It is the 
same with "John Jones." The Registrar-General says 
that if "John Jones" were called out at a market 
in Wales, either everybody would come, or nobody : 
either everybody, thinking that you meant each, or 
nobody, because you had not added some description 
which should distinguish the particular John Jones 
you wanted. I remember at college two John 
Joneses went in for examination for the " little go." 
Both belonged to the same college ; one passed, the 
other did not. The one who got first to the schools 
bore away his certificate in triumph. The one who 
came last always declared that his confrere had 
robbed him of his " testamur," and I have no doubt 
will die assured of the same ! I believe a day will 
come when, either by compulsory enactment or by 
voluntary arrangement, there will be a redistribution 
of surnames in Wales ; the sooner the better. 

(2) Localization. So much for the personality ; 
now for locality. It is one thing to know the name 
of the man you want ; it is another thing to know 
where you can find him. In a word, where does 
he live ? " Go into the street which is called 
Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one 
called Saul, of Tarsus," says the Divine Book. This 
would not be enough in the nineteenth century. 
There are streets a mile long now. There are restau- 
rants above the shops, and offices above the restau- 
rants, and the old woman who cleans the building 


above them all. How is Mrs. Betsy Pipps to be found 
of her friends ? Yet a letter from her daughter in the 
country about the cows and the turnips has as much 
right to find its way to that top room in the murky 
city as a posted document about Turkey and Russia 
to Lord Derby in that big place a little further on. 

One of the greatest transformations the streets of 
London ever saw was when the signboards were 
taken down. These were at first adopted purely to 
localize the inhabitant of the house pendent from 
whose wall the signboard swung. Until the reign of 
Queen Anne, the streets could scarcely be seen further 
than a few yards because of these innumerable ob- 
structions. They darkened the streets, obscured the 
view, and threatened the very lives of the horsemen 
who rode along. The personal discomfort to way- 
farers was great, for not only did the rain drip 
unpleasantly from them, but the wooden spouts, 
which frequently shot forward from the roof in order 
that the signboard might swing from them, poured 
their little cataracts upon the devoted heads of the 
passers-by. This infliction was patiently endured for 
several centuries ; but the British ratepayer at last 
made his voice heard, as in the end he always does. 
This time, too, he had right on his side, as he 
invariably thinks he has, and an alteration took 
place. The ruling powers ordered the obnoxious 
signs to be placed flat against the walls. The idea 
of removing them entirely was reserved for a more 
brilliant intellect a few years later on. I have not 
yet seen the printed regulation for the metropolis, 
but no doubt the Manchester document was but a 


copy of it. The declaration issued for that town runs 
as follows : " With the approbation and concurrence 
of the magistrates, we, the borough reeve and con- 
stables, request the shopkeepers and innholders of 
this town, who have not already taken down their 
signs, to do the same as soon as possible, and place 
them against the walls of their houses, as they have 
been long and justly complained of as nuisances. 
They obstruct the free passage of the air, annoy the 
passengers in wet weather, darken the streets, etc., 
all which inconvenience will be prevented by a 
compliance with our request, and be manifestly 
productive both of elegance and utility." 

Of the utility there could be no doubt. In wet 
weather, as already hinted, everybody who had a coat 
collar had to turn it up to prevent each swinging 
sign from dripping the rain-water down the back 
of the neck. Umbrellas were still rare, costly, and 
curious luxuries. In a word, the swinging sign was 
voted an intolerable nuisance, was found guilty, and 
condemned not to the gallows, of course, for the 
charge against it was that it had been hanging there 
to the public detriment all its days but to oblivion. 
I daresay London had made away with many of its 
cumbersome signboards many years before the provin- 
cial towns. It is curious to note that in a hundred 
different nooks and corners of old London there still 
linger some of the tradesmen's signs, either flattened 
against the wall, or carved upon the now crumbling 

There are endless allusions to the signs of old 
London in the comic or semi-comic rhymes of the 



period. Thomas Heywood, early in the seventeenth 
century, says : 

" The gintry to the King's Head, 

The nobles to the Crown, 
The knights unto the Golden Fleece, 

And to the Plough the clowne. 
The Churchman to the Mitre, 

The shepherd to the Star, 
The gardener hies him to the Rose, 

To the Driim the man of war." 

There is a capital collection of these names in a 
ballad of the Restoration, which is far too long to 
quote in full, but of which the following is a speci- 
men : 

" Through the Royal Exchange as I walked, 

Where gallants in sattin doe shine, 
At midst of the day they parted away, 

To seaverall places to dine. 
The ladyes will dine at the Feathers, 

The Globe no captaine will scorne, 
The huntsman will goe to the Greyhound below, 

And some will hie to the Home. 
The farriers will to the Horse, 

The blacksmith unto the Locke, 
The butchers unto the Bull will goe, 

And the carmen to Bridewell Clocke. 
The pewterers to the Quarte Pot, 

The coopers will dine at the Hoope, 
The coblers to the Last will goe, 

And the bargemen to the Sloope. 
The goldsmith will to the Three Cups, 

For money they hold it as drosse ; 
Your Puritan to the Pewter-canne, 

And your Papists to the Crosse. 


Thus every man in his humour, 

That comes from the northe or the southe ; 

But he that has no money in his purse 
May dine at the signe of the Mouth" 

Again, Pasquin, in his " Night-cap," says : 

" First there is Maister Peter at the Bell, 

A linen draper, and a wealthy man ; 
Then Maister Thomas that doth stockings sell, 

And George the grocer at the Frying Pan. 
And Maister Miles the mercer at the Harrow, 

And Maister Mike the silkman at the Plow, 
And Maister Nicke the salter at the Sparrow, 

And Maister Dicke the vintner at the Cow." 

Another jingling rhyme began : 

" I'm amused at the signs 

As I pass through the town, 
To see the odd mixture, 

A " Magpie and Crown," 
The "Whale and the Crow," 

The " Razor and Hen," 
The " Leg and Seven Stars," 

The " Scissors and Pen," 
The " Axe and the Bottle," 

The " Tun and the Lute," 
The " Eagle and Child," 

The " Shovel and Boot." 

These double signs were very common, and are 
easily explained. Now-a-days a man who has taken 
the goodwill of a well-established shop paints over the 
door " Snooks, late Jopson, Chemist." The appren- 
tice in old days added his own badge to that of his 
late master, and the signboard displayed perhaps the 


" Mermaid and Gridiron/' or the " Leg and Crow," 
the old sign being linked to the new. 

The reader may think I have dwelt somewhat long 
upon this matter ; but I am writing about localization, 
and these signboards in their day were the only 
means of identifying the London tradesman. Names 
and numbers were practically useless. How small a 
proportion of the London population could read even 
two hundred years ago ! Mr. Baxter might have 
" Baxter " in the largest gilt characters over his front ; 
he might further add that he made and sold that 
newly-discovered luxury tobacco on the counter 
within, but how many of the passers-by would be 
any the wiser ! But if he had a large swinging board 
at the end of a pole, facing the wayfarers, with a 
huge Turk's head with a pipe in its mouth, there was 
none but could tell his occupation. Sometimes the 
real article was exhibited. The hosier would dangle 
a pair of stockings from his pole. Thus it was that 
every shopkeeper was known by his sign. The 
housewife would send little Tom to the " Cock," or 
the "Three Cranes," or the "Ark," or the "Hand-in- 
hand " for her little domestic wants, where now she 
would bid him run to " Tomkins'," or " Sawyer's," or 
" Robinson's." In course of time the sign did not 
always harmonize with the articles sold within, but 
it was quite enough for the neighbours dwelling 
around. What an array of creaking posts and 
grotesque frames must there not have been along the 
leading thoroughfares, such as Cheapside, and old 
London Bridge ! and leaving out the question of dis- 
comfort, and the perils of a broken head if you drove 


on a coach, what a picturesque scene it must have 
been ! 

I dare not say what a large proportion of names 
in the London Directory that look like nicknames 
must be set down as the result of this old-fashioned 
custom. The fourteenth century saw London streets 
looking as if hung with bannerets, so crowded were 
they with signs. That was a period when half of the 
lower middle class were still without an hereditary 
surname. The consequence is, we find such entries 
as "Hugh atte Cokke," or "Thomas atte Ram," or 
"Thomas del Hat," or " Margery de Styrop." The 
reader must see at a glance that we have here the 
origination of half our " Cocks " and " Coxes," 
"Rams," "Roebucks," " Tubbs," "Bells," "Crows." 
There are three " Hatts " to forty-one " Heads," three 
" Pates " and two " Crowns " in the London Directory, 
not to mention three "Harrows," two "Plows," four 
" Boots," and ten " Pattens." All these, and a hundred 
other names that appear difficult of origination, are 
easily explained when we recall this faded custom of 
a few centuries ago. 

The plan of having numbered doors came into 
use but very recently. The signboards were disused 
in many parts of London before numerals were 
instituted. The addresses on letters appeared very 
strange as a consequence. 

John Byrom, the great epigrammatist, writing to 
his wife from Cambridge in 1727, addresses his letter 
to " Mistress Eliz. Byrom, near the old Church, in 
Manchester." That was the ordinary method, to 
choose some big well-known building, and state your 


friends' position to it by the compass. The first 
Directory ever published, of any pretensions, was 
Kent's, in 1736. " The Directory," it is called, " sold 
by Henry Kent, in Finch Lane, near the Royal 
Exchange." It contains about 1200 names, all the 
tradesmen and merchants of London. There are 
such entries as " Samuel Wilson, hardwareman, in 
Cannon Street, the corner of Crooked Lane," or 
"John Bradshaw, opposite the Monument, at a 

Manifestly this could not go on. In the edition for 
1770 occurs the following : "The Directory . . . with 
the numbers as they are affixed to their houses, 
agreeable to the late Acts of Parliament." The 
Legislature had had to take the matter into hand. 
London was getting far too big for indistinct addresses 
such as these. The first street in the metropolis to 
possess numbered doors was New Burlington Street. 
This was accomplished in June 1764. Other im- 
portant throughfares followed suit, and before ten 
years had gone by, we find the Directory par- 
ticularizing as follows: "John Trelawney, haber- 
dasher, No. 22, Nightingale Lane," or " Hamnett 
Townley, hop merchant, No. 69, Great Tower Street." 
Occasionally a " Vincent Trehearn, hatmaker, behind 
St. Thomas's," comes, but rarely ; and by-and-by 
such entries disappear altogether. Manchester began 
the same practice in 1772, at the request of the 
borough reeve and constable, and was the second 
town in the kingdom to adopt the practice. 

It was reserved for the year 1877 to put a climax, 
I think, to ingenuity of this kind. In Manchester, 


probably in London also, there are lamp-post 
Directories. You cannot always have a Directory at 
your elbow. Even this difficulty is remedied by the 
lamp-post Directory. The names of all shopkeepers 
in that particular street wherein the lamp-post 
stands are printed alphabetically on a circular tablet, 
which revolves round the post. You turn it round till 
you frnd the name you want. 

What ingenious creatures we are ! Well might 
our great poet say, " What a piece of work is man ! 
how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties !" Well 
might one greater than William Shakespear declare, 
" Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels " ! 
The ingenuity of man has created the surprises 
of history. 




E have explained the origin of 
surnames as an institution. We 
have shown that as the population 
of the earth increased, and man- 
kind began to form themselves 
L into closely-packed communities, 
a demand arose for a more distinct individuality. 
As a consequence, men took an additional sobriquet ; 
or rather, it was fixed on them by their neighbours, 
for in nine cases out of ten the bearer had no voice 
in the matter. 

The peculiar feature of our earlier surnames is 
that they were not hereditary father, mother, daugh- 
ters, sons, and even the grandchildren, might all be 
living at the same time, in the same hamlet, even 
under the same roof, and yet possess each a distinct 
sobriquet, which was the mark of their identity. Let 
us first draw out an imaginary pedigree, and then 
quote from a real one. 



Richard the Little William atte Pound Henry Whitehead 

! I | 

Bartholomew the Page John Williamson Adam Hawkins 

Richard the Baker James Bentham Alice Adams. 

This would have to be the kind of family tree 
drawn out among our country yeomen and town 
merchants, from say 1200 to 1450, after which date 
we may begin to look for hereditary surnames. The 
great-grandfather, Richard, is known by the village in 
which his house is situate. Of three sons the eldest, 
Richard, is distinguished from Richard his father by 
his small stature. He becomes therefore Richard 
Little in the common parlance of his neighbours. 
The second son, William, has taken charge of the 
village pound for strayed cattle. He is known as 
William atte Pound (i.e. at the Pound). The third 
son, Henry, has very light hair, almost white, although 
he is still but a youth. This being somewhat remark- 
able, causes him to be distinguished from all other 
Henrys in the same community by the sobriquet of 
Henry Whitehead. Of the third generation, William 
atte Pound has two sons, one of whom, Bartholomew, 
becomes a servitor of more menial rank in the great 
baron's castle hard by. Of course he becomes Bar- 
tholomew Page. The other John stays at home to 
help his father. Naturally he is better recognised by 
his filial relationship than his brother, and becomes 
John William's son, and by-and-by John Williamson. 
But Henry Whitehead has a son also, and as Hawkin 
or Halkin was then the pet form of Henry, Adam, 
the son, becomes Adam Hawkins. The fourth 


generation will now be beyond the need of explana- 

Take now a real pedigree from Camden : 


David le Clerke Richard de Belward. 

William de Philip David Thomas de William Richard 
Malpas Gough Golborne Cotgrave de Overton Little 

John Richardson. 

There is nothing that needs explanation in this 
pedigree except Philip's surname of Gough. The 
family residence was at Malpas, as seen above. This 
was on the Welsh frontier. Gough is the Welsh for 
" red," so that Philip had evidently got his surname 
or nickname amongst the Cambrian population from 
his ruddy complexion. 

We are now well on the way to survey the groups 
or classes into which the surnames in the London 
Directory can be divided. Nothing can simplify the 
study of nomenclature so readily as a consideration 
of the classes into which surnames may be placed. 
If the reader will turn to the imaginary pedigree of 
the Colton family, he will see that the ten surnames 
therein contained may be set under five heads. 
Richard of Colton, William atte Pound, and James 
Bentham, are known by & place-name ; John William- 
son, Adam Hawkins and Alice Adams by \hefatkers 
Christian name ; Richard the Baker by his daily 
occupation ; Bartholomew the Page by his official 
capacity ; and Richard the Little and Henry White- 
head by a sobriquet having reference to their personal 
appearance. Here, then, are five distinct classes. 


There is not a surname in the London Directory, nor 
in England, nor in Europe, nor in the whole known 
or unknown world, that cannot be placed, and placed 
correctly, under one of the five heads that I have 
thus foreshadowed : (i) Local names. (2) Baptismal 
names. (3) Names of occupation. (4) Official names. 
(5) Nicknames. The first of these to become here- 
ditary were the Norman local names. Many of the 
Conqueror's followers took or received as a surname 
the title of the place they left in Normandy. He 
who left the chapelry of St. Clair across "the silver 
streak " settled in England as " William, or Robert 
de St. Clair." In course of time this became " Sin- 
clair " and "Sinkler;" just as "St. Denis" became 
"Sidney;" "St. Pierre," "Spier" and "Spiers;" or 
"St. Leger," " Selinger." " Sinkler " is as vile a 
corruption of " Sinclair " as " Boil " from " Boyle." 
Some folk say, " What's in a name ? " One thing is 
clear : there is a good deal in the spelling of it. 
These local names, however, were the first hereditary 
names in England. But the Normans introduced 
representatives of all five classes. Take a single in- 
stance of each. 

Norman-English. Saxon-English. 

I. Local .... Sidney . . . Burton. 

II. Baptismal . . . Fitz-Hamon . . Jenkinson. 

III. Occupative. . . Taylor . . . Baker. 

IV. Official . . . Chamberlain . . Steward. 

V. Nicknames . . Fortescue . . . Sheepshanks. 

" Fortescue " means " brave " or " strong shield." 
Hence the family motto has a punning allusion : 
" Forte Scutum, salus ducum, i.e., " A strong shield 
is the safety of leaders." If we take a glimpse at any 


William Somaster (Sum- 
Hobbe the Kynge. 

village roll four hundred years ago, representatives of 
all these classes will invariably be found, although the 
baptismal and. local will largely predominate. Look at 
the " Custom Roll and Rental of the Manor of Ashton- 
under-Lyne, 1422 " (Chetham Society Publications). 

I. Local . . Robert of Chad wick Thomlyn of the Leghes. 
II. Baptismal . Tomlyn Diconson Robyn Robynson. 

III. Occupative Roger the Baxter Richard the Smith. 

(Baker) [master). 

IV. Official . . Jak the Spenser . 
V. Nicknames Elyn the Rose . 

Every secluded village in England at this moment, 
every churchyard with its simple epitaphs, every 
vestry register with its recorded births and marriages 
and deaths, contains representatives of these several 
divisions. When we come to such a big place^as the 
metropolis, a little world of itself, we expect to find 
these classes largely exhibited. I have taken the 
trouble to analyse the first five letters of the alphabet 
in the London Directory. Curious are the results. 
We may premise that there are about 120,000 names 
in the Commercial list. My analysis concerns about 
30,000 of these that is, exactly one-fourth. 







Baptismal k 
Official . 




8 99 



3 2 59 




7 I6 

6 7 




Total . 








Without some further explanation, these figures 
will seem utterly incongruous. I make no apology 
for the somewhat large number of doubtful instances. 
Those who have studied this subject will consider it 

Notice under " A," the baptismal names are double 
all other classes added together ; while under " B," 
the local names, excluding doubtful instances (a large 
proportion of which must be local), are also double 
the rest. This is easily explained. Five hundred 
years ago some Christian names were enormously 
popular. Andrew was one. Under the forms of 
Andrews and Anderson, etc., we have a total of 
290 names. Allen was another. There are 250 
" Aliens " * in London, without adding other forms 
of the name. There is no local name under " A " 
to compare with these. Under " B " this position is 
reversed. Of local names there are about 142 Barnes, 
56 Bartons, 37 Becks, 85 Berrys, 55 Boltons, 44 
Booths, 58 Bradleys, 1 20 Brooks, besides a large 
list of lesser but fairly proportionate names. Baptis- 
mal names under " B " are not so fortunate. ' Tis 
true there are 70 Barnards, 66 Balls (Baldwin), 
83 Bartletts (Bartholomew), 52 Bates (Bartholomew), 
199 Bennetts (Benedict and Benjamin), and 40 
Batemans (an old English baptismal name), but 
with these the list is well-nigh exhausted. Under 
" C " the occupative class is larger than the baptismal. 

* I say there are 250 Aliens in London. But the Directory 
only gives the name of the head of the family. Hence in 
the aggregate there may be 2,000 Aliens dwelling in the 


This would be unaccountable did we riot remember 
that there are no less than 283 Cooks and Cookes, 
265 Coopers, 221 Carters, 64 Chandlers, 51 Carpen- 
ters, and 35 Cartwrights in the Directory. Under 
" C," too, the official class is very strongly represented. 
There are about 520 Clerks, Clarks, and Clarkes, 
not to mention 120 Cohens and Cohns (i.e., priest), 
which, though of Jewish origin, are not set down in 
the foreign list, inasmuch as the vast majority of them 
have sprung from Cohens settled in England for 
centuries ; indeed, a large number of them pass for 
pure English blood. Nicknames are best exhibited 
under "B," for there are no less than 650 forms of 
Brown in the London Directory alone, not to mention 
1 60 Bells and 120 Bishops one hundred and twenty 
Bishops in London ! This beats all the episcopal 
conferences of modern times hollow. By-and-by I 
shall explain why "Bishop," and such names as 
"Pope," "Cardinal," "Prince," and King," must be 
set in the nickname class. I now may note the 
fact, and pass on. With respect also to the 160 
Bells, we must not forget that they have three 
distinct origins. The following registered forms 
are found five hundred years ago : " Peter le Bel " 
(i.e., the handsome), "Richard fil. Bell'' (i.e., the 
son of Bell, i.e. Isabella), and "John atte Bell" (i.e., 
at the Bell, the sign-name at some country hostel). 
Our friends the Bells may choose which they 
like. I should select the first, I think, but tastes 
may differ. Again, notice under "E" that the 
baptismal names far outnumber the aggregate 
of all other classes, the occupative being without 


a representative at all ! The popularity of Edward 
and Elias (always called Ellis) has done this. 
There are about 330 Edwards in London ; and 
adding together the different forms of Ellis, such as 
Elliot (the pet name of Ellis), Eliot, Elliotson, Ellice, 
Ellicot (the pet form of Ellice), Ellison, Elkins, 
Elkinson, Elcock, Ell, Else, Elson, and a dozen other 
dresses in which the name is arrayed, all of which I 
shall explain hereafter, we have no less than 370 
representatives of Elias. That the Crusades brought 
" John " and " Elias " into favour in England is easily 
proved, and I shall have a word to say about the 
matter in another chapter. There are a hundred 
interesting remarks to make about such names as 
these, if one allowed oneself to be tempted out of the 
beaten track, but I control myself. Notice lastly, 
that under " D " one-tenth of the names are foreign 
that is, of recent importation from the Continent. 
The explanation of such a large proportion is that 
very many foreign local surnames preserve the " de," 
or "del," or "de la," as a prefix. " De Jersey," "De 
Grelle," " Delattre," " Delcroix," " Delavanti; " so they 

In concluding this chapter, the question may be 
asked and a very important one it is how many 
differently spelled names, counting a single spel- 
ling as one, are there in each class ? The answer 
to this will show the vast predominance of local 
names in our Directories. If we exclude foreign 
(nearly all local) and doubtful (of which three-fifths 
must be looked upon as local), then the local class 
under A, B, C, D, and E, is double all the rest. We 


may prejudge that this ratio applies to the whole 






















1 2O 












1 20 






1 68 


































Thus the total number of distinct surnames in the 
London, Directory under the first five letters is 5535. 
Omitting foreign and doubtful, the local class are 
double the rest. Therefore the rhyme quoted by 
Camden is true, that 

" In ' ford,' in 'ham,' in ' ley,' and ' ton,' 
The most of English surnames run. " 

All names with this termination are local, and 
comprise a large proportion of our national nomen- 

One word about the doubtful class, and I have 
done. A hundred years ago even, as our registers 
show, there was no established orthography for 
surnames in the highest ranks of society. How much 
less so, then, among the illiterate orders ! I find a 
clergyman's name, Bann, spelled Bann, Ban, Banne, 
and Band between 1712 and 1736. He was Rector 
of St Ann's, Manchester, during that period. The 


spelling of Shakespear's name at this moment is the 
subject of almost bitter conflict. Being clearly of the 
nickname class, my view is that it written 
" Shakespear." Illiterate clerks have done much to 
obscure the meaning and origin of names. I know 
a register where the clerk has written "Pickering" as 
"Pikrin," and on the next page informs the reader 
that several names have been " rong placeed." 
"Pamela" he inscribes as "Permelea." Butcher is 
.found in the London Directory in the following 
forms : " Boucher," " Bowcher," " Bowker," " Bosher," 
"Bowsher," "Bowser," "Boutcher," and "Botcher." 
The Norman " Chesney " (equivalent to English 
"Oakes") is found as "Cheney," "Chancy," 
"Cheyney," "Chesney;" and " Chesnil" as"Chis- 
nall," "Chisnell," and "Channell." Thus, too, 
" Solomon " becomes " Slowman " and " Sloman." Sir, 
William Dugdale found the Cheshire " Mainwarings" 
in no less than 131 forms; but this will not seem so 
strange when we consider that they include " Main- 
wayringe," " Meinilwarin," and " Mensilwaren " ! 

I could furnish endless instances of names that 
have undergone corruptions of this kind through 
defective spelling, and the lack of a standard ortho- 
graphy. Few people would recognise Oursley as 
Ursula, but that is a common form in the seventeenth 
century, when that was one of our commonest girl 
names. In Hokington Church, under date 1611, 
occurs the following entry : 

" George, sonne of Fenson Benet, and Jane, baptised." 
A previous Rector had been one Vincent Goodwin, 


and being popular, many of his parishioners had had 
children christened after him. The form entered is 
invariably Fenson, and I dare say after a generation 
or two none of the less educated would know what 
the original name had been. In the Calendar of 
Pleadings we find that one Quintin Snaneton, of 
Gringley Manor, made three several suits within ten 
years all in the reign of Good Queen Bess. He is 
thus entered on each occasion : 

1. (i5thEliz.) Quyntine Sneydon of Gringley Manor. 

2. (20th Eliz.) Quintin Snaneton of Grinley Manor. 

3. (25th Eliz.) Quyntin Sneyton of Grynley Manor. 

Thus there are three distinct variations of Christian 
name, surname, and place of residence, nine in all, 
when only nine were possible ! This, too, in a formal 
legal document. Take another instance given to me 
by J. Paul Rylands, F.S.A. In Edward the Third's 
reign lived one Henry le Machun by name. His 
son was Adam le Machoun. Passing downwards, 
his descendants are found as Macound, Macount, 
Macont, till in 1584 they are Macon, a year later 
Maconde. In 1592 they are Makant, and Makont, 
in 1609 Macante, in 1610 Makin, in 1620 Macond, 
in 1624 Meacon, in 1626 Meakin, in 1644 Macant, 
in 1650 Meakyn. We are in a perfect wilderness by 
the time the last entry is reached, and thus some 
of our present Makins, instead of deriving their sur- 
name from Makin, the once pet name of Matthew, 
may be descended from Mason, which, belonging 
to a totally different class, owes its existence to the 
occupation of its first bearer. Thus, as we turn over 


the pages of the London Directory, we are being ever 
struck by the many guises under which one single 
name may appear. It is palpable to the most unini- 
tiated that Langwith, Langworth, and Langworthy 
are all the same, and that all may have had the same 
common ancestor. The merest tyro in nomen- 
clatural knowledge must recognise at a glance 
that Gibbins, Gibbings, and Gibbons are one and 
the same name, and that Smithers, Smithies, and 
Smithyes may have boasted a common progenitor. 
There is no Raleigh in the London Directory. Has, 
then, Sir Walter no representative ? Yes, for there 
are three Rawleys, who have learnt to spell their 
name as it was pronounced three centuries ago. But 
how do we know Sir Walter's name was pronounced 
like Rawley ? The following skit was written at 
the poet's expense by a contemporary critic, who 
attacked his supposed atheistic notions. We may pre- 
mise that Walter was always pronounced Water then. 

" Water thy plants with grace divine, 

And hope to live for aye : 
Then to thy Saviour Christ incline, 

In Him make stedfast stay. 
Raw is the reason that doth lie 

Within an atheist's head, 
Which saith the soul of man doth die, 

When that the body's dead. 
Now may you see the sudden fall 

Of him that thought to climb full high ; 
A man well known unto you all, 

Whose state, you see, doth stand Rawly." 

The last word is supposed to mean " rarely," and 
and thus a double pun is attempted, both proving the 


name to have been pronounced in a fashion not 
common now. 

But while these names can be traced to their true 
source and meaning, it is not so with others. Take 
the following from the London Directory : " Six," 
"Seven," "Nine," "Spon," "Spitty," "Kiss," " Slape," 
"Im," "Ey," "Tattoo," "Tubby," "Yewd," Zox," 
"Toop," "Kitcat," "Sass," "Knags," "Neeb," " Siggs/' 
"Saks," "Toy," "Stidd," "Stap," and " Shum," what 
do they mean ? Whence came they ? Ask the 
bearers, and they will say, no doubt, that they came 
over with William the Conqueror. They are not the 
only people who have tried to come William the 
Conqueror over us. 

In this last list we have mentioned " Kiss." This 
reminds me that there is one instance in the same 
tome much more demonstrative than that namely, 
" Popkiss " ! But there is no difficulty in decipher- 
ing this, as it is a manifest corruption of Popkins, 
and that of Hopkins. The Directory teems with 
examples of the termination kins being turned into 
kiss and again into ks. Thus we have not merely 
Perkins, but Perkiss and Perks not only Hodgkins, 
but Hotchkiss not alone Wilkins, but Wilks ; and 
so on with many others. 

While some surnames are hopelessly corrupted, 
and therefore incapable of interpretation, others are a 
stumbling-block because they seem so easily explain- 
able. Such are names like " Coward," " Craven," 
and " Charley." The " Coward," or Cowherd, was a 
tender of kine ; " Craven " is local ; and " Charley " 
is the same. " Deadman " and " Dedman " are, like 


" Debnam," but corruptions of " Debenham," and 
therefore local also. "Tiddyman" looks as if its first 
bearer had been tidy in his habits ; but it was once 
a Christian name, and therefore is a patronymic. 
"Massinger" has been not uncommonly explained 
as Mass-singer. Of course it is the early form of 
"Messenger." "Diamond" is a form oP'Dumont," 
and " Doggrell " of " Duckerell" that is, little duck, 
a manifest nickname. " Eatwell " and " Early " are 
also both of local origin. "Portwine" is first found 
as " Poitevin," the old name for an inhabitant of 
Poictiers ; and " Coleman," though apparently con- 
nected with the black diamond, is an early baptismal 
name. There is a peculiar tendency to skip the 
natural solution, and go to the Continent, especially 
Normandy, for the origin. Thus "Twopenny," a 
palpable relic of the twopenny piece, and twopenny 
ale, is represented as hailing from Tupigny in 
Flanders. " Death" is said to be from D'Aeth in the 
same ; " Bridges " from Bruges ; and " Morley " from 
Morlaix, where lived St. Bernard regardless of the 
fact that there are a dozen hamlets styled " Morley" 
in England ; indeed, wherever there is a moorland 
reach there is a village or farm styled " Morley." 

A lady wrote to me the other day to inform me 
that I had made a mistake in ascribing the name 
" Mason " to the craftsman of that name, for she was 
sure she was sprung from Mnason in the Acts of 
the Apostles, and that the family had worked its 
way through Phrygia, and Italy, and Germany, into 
England. If she can prove her pedigree, she may 
boast a genealogy which the proudest monarch in 


Europe might envy. The fact is, it is as true of a 
hundred reputed foreign names as of the rhyme 
of the three Devonshire families, which asserts 

" l Croker,' ' Crewys,' and * Coplestone,' 
When the Conqueror came were at home.'* 

What a pleasant book to look upon would our 
Directory be if we had all had the selection of 
our own surnames ! There would have been no 
" Pennyfathers." This was an old English nickname 
for a miser. An old couplet says, 

" The liberall doth spend his pelfe, 
The pennyfather wastes himself." 

That such a disposition need not be hereditary 
is proved in the case of one of the most generous, 
earnest Christian ministers who ever worked for 
Christ in London. Mr. Pennefather is dead ; but 
who would think of connecting him with the charac- 
teristic his name implies ? Again, there would have 
been no "Piggs," no "Rakestraws" (an old nickname 
for a dust-heap searcher), no "Milksops," no "Buggs," 
no "Rascals." But the fact is, the man who had 
most interest in the matter had least to do with it. 
All he could do was to accept his sobriquet, if not 
with thanks, with such grace as he could muster. 
If his children could shuffle it off, so much the 
better. Our Directory proves that this was not 
always possible. 'Tis true, we have got rid of " Alan 
Swet-in-bedde's" nominal descendants, not to mention 
such cognomens as " Cheese-and-bread," " Scutel- 
mouth" (what a great eater he must have been!) 


" Red-herring," " Drink-dregs," " Cat's-nose," " Pigg's- 
flesh," "Spickfat" (i.e. bacon-fat), "Burgulion" (a 
braggart), and "Rattlebag." But many of these 
names made a hard fight for it, and contrived to 
hold out till the seventeenth, or even eighteenth, 
century. " Piggs-flesh," I say, is gone ; but " Hog's- 
flesh" has been a name familiar to Brighton and its 
neighbourhood for six hundred years, and still lives. 
Charles Lamb's little comedy, called " Mr. H. " (i.e., 
Hog's-flesh), had for its hero's sobriquet no fanciful 
title. No doubt Mr. Lamb had seen the name in 
a Sussex Directory. The story is a relation of 
Mr. H.'s troubles in polite society through the attempt 
to hide his name under the mere initial. When it 
is discovered, everybody deserts him. As he quits 
his hotel, his landlord says : 

" Hope your honour does not intend to quit the 
' Blue Boar? Sorry anything has happened." 

Mr. H. (to himself) : " He has heard it all." 

Land.: "Your honour has had some mortification, 
to be sure, as a man may say. You have brought 
your pigs to a fine market." 

Mr. H. : " Pigs ! " 

Land. : " What then ? Take old Pry's advice, and 
never mind it. Don't scorch your crackling for 'em, 

Mr. H. : " Scorch my crackling ! A queer phrase ; 
but I suppose he don't mean to affront me." 

Land. : " What is done can't be undone ; you can't 
make a silken purse out of a sow's ear." 

Mr. H. : " As you say, landlord, thinking of a thing 
does but augment it." 


Land. : " Does but hogment it, indeed, sir." 
Mr. H. : " Hogment it ! I said augment it." 
Land.-: "Ah, sir, 'tis not everybody has such gift 
of fine phrases as your honour, that can lard his 

Mr.H.: "Lard!" 

Land. : "Suppose they do smoke you " 

Mr. H. : " Smoke me ! " 
Land. : " Anon, anon." 
Mr. H. : " Oh, I wish I were anonymous ! " 
It is curious to notice that many objectionable 
names still exist, simply because the words them- 
selves have become obsolete, and the meaning for- 
gotten. We will leave them in their obscurity. 



SAID in my last chapter that nearly 
half of the names in the London 
Directory are of local origin, and I 
proved my statement by an appeal 
to certain figures. We have not all 
the brand of Cain on our brow, but 
certainly man has ever been " a fugitive and a 
vagabond in the earth." History, sacred and profane, 
teems with the records of the flights of nations 
from one land to another. From the days of the 
Israelites' escape from Egypt to the flight of the 
Huguenots from France, there have been emigrations 
which have been the direct results of persecution. 
From the year that saw Babel erected and the lan- 
guage confounded, the races of mankind have struck 
out a path for themselves in one direction or another 
of the earth's vast continent. The curious feature 
is this, It is to the dictionary we must go to discover 
whence each several horde set forth. The language 


of every nation clearly tells where lies the cradle of 
its birth. 

But emigration and immigration lie not alone with 
nationalities. The world has not always been a 
vagabond en masse. From the day that Jacob started 
for the East to find his uncle, from the morn that 
saw Ruth clinging to Naomi, while she said, " Whither 
thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will 
lodge," there has ever been going on a wondrous 
silent efflux or influx of individual wanderers. Just 
as the mother-bird at the proper time, with seeming 
stern but true maternal instinct, pushes out her fledg- 
ling brood to seek a home and sustenance for them- 
selves, so it has ever been with man. To go forth 
and replenish the earth has been a Divine fiat which 
none could forego. And what the dictionary is to 
the nation, the directory is to the individual. In 
the name of each we know the land, the city, the 
hamlet, whence each set forward to battle with the 
world. At any rate, this is strictly true of all local 

In the course of the last six hundred years there 
has not been a single village or town in England that 
has not found its representative in London. "All 
roads lead to the capital/' says an old proverb. How 
true this is, the London Directory shows ; for at this 
moment it would be hard to mention a place, big or 
small, from John o' Groats to Land's End, the Dan 
and Beersheba of England, whose name is not found 
therein as the title of some individual whose ancestor, 
long generations ago, left his native home to settle in 
what was, even then, the big city. I was struck the 


other day by seeing two shops adjacent, the shop- 
keepers' names on the doors being " Dearnally " and 
" Dennerley." Dearnally and Dennerley ! What a 
curious circumstance ! My mind went back six cen- 
turies, and I wove a little story. Six hundred years 
ago, two brothers, or schoolfellows, or playmates, leave 
the little secluded hamlet of Dearnley.* One is 
John, the other William. John goes to Bristol. 
" Whence come you ? " say his Bristol associates. 
" From Dearnley," he replies. Henceforward he is 
John o' Dearnley, by-and-by to become simple John 
Dearnley. " Whence come you ? " says a Norwich 
artisan to William, who has turned his steps east- 
wards. " From Dearnley : I wonder shall I see it 
again," responds William, sadly, who is already 
home-sick, for homes were homes then as well as 
now. Henceforth he is William o' Dearnley, or Will 
Dearnley. Each marries, has children, dies. His 
descendants, bearing his name, are scattered hither 
and thither over the broad land, like leaves before 
the cold keen blast of an October wind. Corruptions 
of the name of course ensue. The descendants of 
John are "Dearnally"; of William "Dennerley." 
Centuries after this, in the year of grace 1877, one 
of John's generation, who has found his way to a big 
city, sees a new house, takes it, is a grocer, and in- 
scribes his name Dearnally above. In the meantime 
another stranger is eyeing a contiguous shop in the 
same block of buildings. " Fine opening for a butcher 

* Dearn means secluded. Chaucer speaks of "derne love," 
i.e. hidden, secret love. 


here," says he to himself: " I will take these premises." 
He does so. Up goes his name. What is it ? 
Dennerley ! Thus, after long years, nay, centuries, 
two descendants of the two playfellows, probably 
brothers, are to be seen dwelling together, each 
ignorant that when he wishes his neighbour good 
morning, he is rejoining links in a chain snapped, oh, 
so long ago ! The invisible destinies of God have 
recovered the lost associations of twenty generations ! 
Said I not, the London Directory is a romance ? 

I have selected this story for a purpose. It ex- 
plains the origin of every local surname in existence. 
A man, in a new community to which he had joined 
himself, might go by the name of his occupation, as 
" Tinker," or father's Christian name, as " Peterson," 
or by a nickname from his social habits, as " Good- 
fellow " ; but in five cases out of ten he bore the 
title of the spot whence he issued forth. Take a few 
instances of the mode and manner in which these 
local surnames were formed. All my illustrations 
shall be from the London Directory. For perspi- 
cuity's sake I will separate them into classes. 

(a) Local names terminating in " er" and "man" 
" Churchman " would seem to bespeak the original 
possessor an Episcopalian. But there was no dissent 
in the twelfth or thirteenth century. It could give 
no individuality as such. It was a local name, 
implying that John or Peter Churchman dwelt by 
the church. Hence also " Churcher." In the north, 
" Church" was pronounced " Kirk." Therefore, in the 
north these two names are found as " Kirkman " 
and "Kirker," exactly as we find "Thacker" in 


Yorkshire to be " Thatcher " in Surrey. Of this same 
class are Grosser and Grossman, reminding us that 
there was a time in pre-Reformation days when every 
village had its cross, which was as much a landmark 
as it was an object of reverence. Bridger and Bridg- 
man lived beside the wooden or stone structure that 
spanned the stream. 

(b) Some local names still preserve the affix or suffix 
corresponding to the French "del," "de," "du," and 
"de la," as Atwood, Atwater, and Atwell, once 
William at the wood, or at tJie water, or at the well. 
By is found in Bywater, and Bythesea. Sometimes 
the letter "n" got in for euphony's sake, as in "Nash," 
which is sprung from "atten-ash." "Thomas atte- 
n-ash " thus became Thomas Nash. Hence Nolt for 
atte-n-holt (i.e. wood), or Nalder for " Alder." Towns- 
end is from Town's-end. Thus Peter at the Town's- 
end becomes Peter Townsend, or Townshend. "Tash" 
is from "at the Ash" ; and Thynne, a name belonging 
to one of our ennobled families, is said to be from 
one "John at the Inne." 

(c) Most of these generic names have, dropped all 
suffixes and affixes. Here a hundred surnames pre- 
sent themselves to our eye. Who does not know a 
Hill or Dale, a Field or Croft ? Who has not a 
friend called Craig or Cliff, or Dean or Hope ? Who 
has not met with a Grange or Moor, or Wood or 
Shaw ? Our " Streets " are as thick as our " Lanes," 
and in the busiest thoroughfares of London you may 
descry Barnes and Marshes and Parks and Forests 
and Warrens without end. The village spring has 
given us our " Wells," the village road our " Crosses," 


and the village common has given us our " Greens." 
The following was addressed to a Miss Green on her 
fortieth birthday : 

" That evergreen thy graces show ; 
Some men say * Yes/ and some say * No.' 
Alas ! that one and all agree 
That ever-Green thy name shall be ! " 

Greener is common, being formed after the fashion 
of Knowler and Knowlman, and Streeter and Street- 
man, (vide under "a"). A Mr. Greener being a 
devoted admirer of a Miss Green, wrote as follows : 

" One dearest wish I fondly cherish, 

My ever-Green so fair, yet lonely : 
To make thee mine, and thus thou'lt flourish 
Greener, and Greener only." 

To which she responded, 

" I'm Green indeed ; but Greener thou, 

To think by love declarative, 
To make me change charms positive 
For those at best comparative." 

Flood and Fell belong to this same class, except 
when Flood is Welsh, and then, like Floyd, it is the 
same as Lloyd. A Mr. Isaac Fell is said to have 
had painted over his shop, in very legible characters, 
"I. Fell, from Ludgate Hill"; beneath which, one 
day, a Shakspearian wag wrote, " O what a fall 
was there, my countrymen ! " We have mentioned 
" Dean " above. In composition it generally appears 
as " den," and implies a sheltered and sunken glade 
closely surrounded with trees. Hence it was a covert 
for cattle and wild beasts, and many of the names 


we now see bear out the fact. Not merely do we 
talk of a "den of lions," but we descry dens of 
"hogs," "rams," " oxen/' "kine," and even "wolves," 
in such surnames as Ogden, Ramsden, Oxenden, 
Cowden, and Wolvenden. Other compounds of 
"den" are not so easily discernible. What Heberden 
may mean I do not know. There is still in the 
Directory one Heberden, a physician. Probably it 
was his father, or grandfather, one of three great 
London doctors in George the Third's reign, of whom 
the sixain got abroad : 

" You should send, if aught should ail ye, 
For Willis, Heberden, or Baillie : 
All exceeding skilful men, 
Baillie, Willis, Heberden : 
Uncertain which most sure to kill is, 
Baillie, Heberden, or Willis." 

But Moore or " More," or " Moor," represented until 
late in London by George Moore, whose like we do 
not expect to see soon again, has been a butt for 
the shafts of wit for generations. We could fill the re- 
maining pages of this chapter with "torts and retorts" 
upon this sobriquet. Lorenzo, in the Merchant of 
Venice, says, "It is much that the Moor should be 
more than reason ; but if she be less than an honest 
woman, she is indeed more than I took her for ; " 
to which Launcelot replies irately, " How every fool 
can play upon the word ! " But some of these epi- 
grams are not fools' work, nevertheless. When Sir 
Thomas More was Chancellor, his untiring devotion 
to his office brought a conclusion to all the Chancery 
cases in litigation. The following got abroad : 


" When More some years had Chancellor been, 

No more suits did remain ; 
The same shall never more be seen, 
Till More be there again." 

When Dr. Manners-Sutton succeeded Archbishop 
Mpore, this rhyme appeared : . 

" What say you ? the Archbishop's dead ? 
A loss indeed 1 Oh, on his head 

May Heaven its blessings pour ; 
But if with such a heart and mind, 
In Manners we his equal find, 
Why should we wish for Moore ? " 

I might mention other similar attempts at rhymical 
puns on this name ; but let this epitaph from St. 
Bennet's Churchyard, Paul's Wharf, London, suffice: 

" Here lies one More, and no more than he ; 
One More, and no more ! how can that be ? 
Why, one More, and no more may well lie here alone, 
But here lies one More, and that's more than one ! " 

To this generic class belongs every name that 
suggests the familiar objects of the country. Even 
the trees supply their quota. Who is not aware of 
Mr. Harper Twelvetrees' existence, and cannot see 
that his ancestor having made his abode beside some 
remarkable group of birch or oak or chestnut trees, 
has been styled by his neighbours "Peter atte Twelve- 
trees " ? Hence the French " Quatrefages," and more 
English "Crabtree," " Plumtree," or " Plumptree," 
"Rountree" (once written " Rowantree "), "Apple- 
tree," and " Peartree." All these names still exist, 
and I find entries to prove they lived at least six 
hundred years ago. To many of my readers it may 


seem somewhat strange that a single shrub should be 
pressed into the service of nomenclature in this man- 
ner. But let him imagine himself without a surname, 
living in the country, in a lane, with no landmark 
adjacent but a stile, or an oak, or an ash. How could 
he escape being called by his neighbours John Styles, 
or Oakes, or Ash ? If there were no trees, nor even 
a stile, how could he avoid being designated as John 
in the Lane, and finally John Lane ? Snooks might 
be set by " Twelvetrees," for it is but a corruption of 
" Sennoks " and that of " Sevenoaks," a well-known 
place in Kent. 

(d) The next division of local names is specific viz. 
the names of towns or villages, such as Preston, 
Buxton, Oldham, Lancaster, Chester, York, and in- 
deed all that class so multitudinous of which the old 
distich already quoted says, 

" In ford, in ham, in ley, in ton, 
The most of English surnames run." 

Sometimes the " ley " gets corrupted. There can 
be little doubt, for instance, that Hathaway is but a 
mispronunciation of Hatherley, and that Ann Hatha- 
way's progenitor hailed from Gloucestershire. Was 
ever a more beautiful as well as clever punning rhyme 
made than that imputed to Shakespear ? One verse 
must suffice : 

" Would ye be taught, ye feathered throng, 
With Love's sweet notes to grace your song, 
To pierce the heart with thrilling lay ? 
Listen to mine Ann Hathaway ! 
She hath a way to sing so clear, 
Phcebus might wondering stop to hear : 


To melt the sad, make blithe the gay, 
And Nature charm, Ann hath a way : 

She hath a way, 

Ann Hathaway, 
To breathe delight, Ann hath a way." 

Five Hathaways and three Hathways still com- 
memorate her in the Directory. The termination 
" field " is corrupted into the form of " full " in several 
cases ; thus Charles Hatfull's name reads somewhat 
queerly. Of course he belongs to the Hatfields who 
figure just above him. 

See the tendency to migrate into, and not from 
London. The name London is rare, as the Directory 
shows. A man leaving Buxton for the capital, would 
be Walter-o'-Buxton ; quitting the capital for the 
Peak of Derbyshire, he would be Walter-o'-London. 
But the tendency being for a young aspirant after 
fame and wealth to go thither, and not thence, made 
the surname London of rare occurrence. Perhaps 
there has been more than one Whittington who has 
fancied the bells have bid him stay and try his luck 
again in that big centre of life and industry, whose 
title is the most familiar place-name in the world. 
Curious that the mightiest city of the mightiest 
empire should be so scantily represented in its own 
Directory. The cause, as I have shown, is simple of 
explanation. We may here set "New," "Newman," 
and " Strange." A new comer would easily get the 
sobriquet of " Matthew the New-man," or " William 
the Strange," or " Henry the New," in the fresh com- 
munity to which he had joined himself. The sobriquet 
has stuck to his children, and still remains. 


(e) Names of foreign towns, the result of earlier or 
later immigration, come next : such as "Cullen" from 
Cologne, a name very familiar to English Roman 
Catholics ; " Lyons " from the city devoted to the 
silk trade ; " Bullen " or " Boleyn " from Boulogne ; 
or " Janeway " or " Jannaway " from Genoa. 

Many of these foreign town-names came into 
England through the fact that the towns they repre- 
sented were celebrated for some particular production. 
The "Challens" of our Directory all hail from 
Chalons, once so famous for its blankets that they 
were called " chalons " for several centuries. The 
name still lingers in the woollen trade of Yorkshire as 
"shaloon cloth." Chaucer speaks both of "chalons" 
and "cloth of raines." This was made at Rennes in 
Brittany, and has furnished the London Directory 
with its various Rains, Rain, Raine, and Raines. A 
writer in the " Book of Days " says the following was 
written upon a lady bearing the name of Rain : 

" Whilst shiv'ring beaux at weather rail, 
Of frost, and snow, and wind, and hail, 

And heat, and cold, complain, 
My steadier mind is always bent 
On one sole object of content, 
I ever wish for Rain ! 

" Hymen, thy votary's praise attend, 
His anxious hope and suit befriend, 

Let him not ask in vain : 
His thirsty soul, his parched estate, 
His glowing breast commiserate 

In pity give him Rain ! " 

(/) Names of counties naturally follow the last 
class : as Derbyshire, or Kent, or Lancashire, or 


Cumberland, or Kentish, or Devonish, or Cornish, or 
Cornwall. A new comer would easily get a sobriquet 
of this sort after stepping across the border line of 
two contiguous shires. 

(g) Names of countries and nationalities may fitly 
be set last : as Ireland, Scott, Welsh, Walsh, Wallace, 
English. These, of course, are marks of migration. 
If an Englishman went into Scotland he would be 
Peter the English, or Inglis ; or vice versa, he would be 
Peter the Scot. Foreign districts are represented by 
such names as " Britton " from Brittany, " Burgon," 
or " Burgoyne," from Burgundy, " Gaskin " from 
Gascony, and so on with French, Holland, Fleming, 
and Aleman or Alman, the old name for Germany. 
The French form for this latter is " D'Almaine," or 
" Lallimand." Both have found their way to London ; 
thus showing a double immigration, first from Ger- 
many to France, and then from France to England. 
Our Sarasins and Sarsons (when not metronymics 
for Sara-son, i.e. Sarah's son) are interesting relics of 
crusading times, when the Templar loved to bring 
back with him a young Saracen boy to act as his 
page. The name is enrolled as " Sarracen " in many 
ancient registers. Turk also exists. A " William le 
Turk " lived in London just four hundred years ago, 
and four " Turks " may be seen in the Directory to- 
day. The Rev. Richard Thorpe, incumbent of Christ 
Church, Camberwell, married Thomas Turk to Jane 
Russ on October 26th, 1877, during the negotia- 
tions for peace at Constantinople. How one wishes 
that such a hopeful union might be brought about 
between the nations represented by the names of this 


pair ! It is fair to add, that in this case " Russ " is 
merely a corruption of "Rous," or of "Rouse," red- 
haired or ruddy-complexioned a favourite nickname 
with our forefathers. Our "Rowses" and "Russells" 
are of similar origin. 

One name in the London Directory deserves a 
paragraph to itself, and also to be classified alone, if 
one single sobriquet can be said to comprise a class. 
This remarkable surname is " World." What a cos- 
mopolitan the ancestor of the bearer of this title 
must have been ! Mr. Bowditch, an American writer 
on surnames, has recorded an instance in the Western 
continent, for he says, " Columbus discovered a world, 
and so have I. Mr. World lives at Orilla." The sobri- 
quet of course is a corruption, but of what I cannot say. 

We might go on like Tennyson's brook, " for ever," 
in this chat over local names, but enough. We 
have only left ourselves space to remind the reader 
what vagrants we all are. Like Dickens' little street 
boy (in "Bleak House," I think it is), there seems 
ever to be a shadowy policeman at our elbow bidding 
us to " move on." The Bible has foretold that this is 
to be our condition ; and our names, at least those of 
local origin, have impressed on our very foreheads the 
truth of such a Divine prophecy. 'Tis well it should 
be so. Earth is not to be our dwelling-place for ever. 
And though at times we may feel that we should like 
repose, it is in mercy that God applies the goad, for 
thus are we reminded that 

" Our rest is in Heaven, our rest is not here." 
The day will assuredly dawn for the Christian when 


he shall be enabled to take off his travel-worn shoes, 
when he shall enter into the home to which he has 
been making his way through so many weary stages, 
and from which there shall be no going forth, even for 
ever and for ever. May every reader of this chapter 
be amongst that multitude of " vagabonds in the 
earth," to use a Scripture phrase, who shall then 
"enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts 
with praise." 





HE largest class of surnames in the 
London Directory, we showed in our 
second chapter, after local names, 
were those of patronymic origin : 
baptismal surnames we called them. 
If Richard has a son called Richard, 
it is easy to suppose that this child 
would go by the name of Richard Richard's son, or 
Richard Dick's son. A third generation having 
appeared in the form of a grandson, called Richard, 
after father or grandfather, it will be readily supposed 
that, he being also Richard Richard's son, or Dick's 
son, the surname Richardson would now be sufficiently 
familiarised to become the hereditary cognomen of 
the descendants of this stock. Thus Richardson and 
Dickson have sprung into being. Thus every name 
of this class has originated. Names like Johnson, 
Jackson, Timpson, Wilson, Harrison, or Stephenson, 
simply prove that the bearers of these several titles 


are descended from some particular John, Tim, Will, 
Harry, or Stephen, who when he died bequeathed 
his baptismal name as a piece of property to his 
immediate descendants not deliberately, as he would 
his money and estates, but in the casual and acci- 
dental* fashion recorded above. 

We can understand that at first it would seem 
strange for a girl to go by a patronymic of this kind. 
Imagine at this early stage of surname formation some 
village maid bearing the name of Mary Williamj^w 
(i.e., Mary, the son of William) ! To us, accustomed 
to these names, there seems nothing absurd in such 
a title as Matilda ]ohnson, or Margaret David^wz. It 
never occurs to us to take the name to pieces, and 
see the incongruity of its several elements. That 
this was a difficulty to our forefathers is evident from 
the fact that there are many entries like " Joan Wills- 
daughter," or " Nan Tomsdaughter," in the registers 
of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Thus 
"Isabella Peersdoghter " lived near Durham four 
hundred years ago i.e., Isabella, the daughter of 
Peers, ije. Peter. In the same way, "Avice Mattwife" 
i.e., Avice, the wife of Matt (Matthew) or " Cecilia 
Wilkin-wife," is found at the same period. The 
reason why surnames ending in daughter are not 
found now, is that if the girl with such a surname 
died unmarried, it died with her; if she married, she 
changed her name. "Son" as a termination having 
no difficulties of this kind to contend with, has left 
us a multitude of names. Had it been otherwise, 
we should have had surnames like Steven-daughter, 
Dick-daughter, and Hopkin-daughter, contending for 


a place in our directories with "Stevenson," " Dickson," 
and " Hopkinson." 

It would seem as if the female sex, therefore, had 
been hardly treated in this matter of baptismal 
nomenclature. Indeed, some of my readers might 
be tempted to ask me whether the gentler half of the 
community are represented at all in our directories. 
I am happy to respond in the affirmative. John and 
Margery might have a son, Robert by name. Now, 
John is a timid, retiring kind of man ; his wife being 
a bustling, active, assertive woman. John sits in the 
chimney-corner, Margery does all the marketing, all 
the talking, possibly all the working also. In a 
word, she rules the roost. Naturally, the neighbours 
get into a way of calling the child " Robert Margeri- 
son," rather than "Robert y0//;/son." Margerison, 
Margetson, and Margetts are all in the London 
Directory. Take another instance : Hodge and Nell 
get married ; Hodge dies, and a posthumous child 
is born. Only the mother is living. As a matter 
of course, the little one is styled Antony or Sarah 
AWson, according to its sex. A large number of 
metronymic surnames must be attributed to an 
accident of this kind. All our " Ibbs," " Ibbisons," 
"Ibbsons," "Ibbots," and "Ibbotsons" are sprung 
from Isabella, a much more common and familiar 
name four or five hundred years ago than it is 
now. Our "Emmetts," " Emmotts," " Emmotsons," 
"Emms," and " Empsons " are descendants of some 
" Emma," or " Emmot," as she was then styled. 
Many people have refused to believe that there are 
any metronymic surnames, for fear that it would 


seem to imply illegitimate birth. It is always silly 
to deny facts, and I have shown there is no reason 
to dread the charge in the great majority of these 

Every nation has its own peculiar way of forming 
the baptismal surname. We have no less than five 
representing British as distinct from English nomen- 
clature : Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Saxon, Scotch, Irish, 
and Welsh. Each had his fashion of framing the 
patronymic, and all, I need not say, abound in the 
metropolis. The Norman made fitz (French, fils) 
a prefix, and thus Gilbert, son of Hamon, became 
Gilbert Fitz-hamon. The Saxon made son a desi- 
nence, and thus Ralph, son of Nichol, became Ralph 
Nicholson. The Welshman put ap (i.e. son) in the 
forefront, like the Norman, and thus Owen ap-Richard 
became Owen Pritchard, or Griffin ap-Harry Griffin 
Parry, or Hugh ap-Rice Hugh Price. The inhabitant 
of " Caledonia stern and wild " also set Mac at the 
beginning rather than the end, so that Andrew, son 
of Aulay, became Andrew Macaulay. Lastly, our 
friends of the Emerald Isle prefixed Mac or O to the 
baptismal name, as their form of descent, and thus 
Patrick, son of Neale, became Patrick MacNeale, 
or Patrick O'Neale. As the old rhyme has it : 

" By Mac and 0, 

You all may know 
True Irishmen, they say ; 

But if they lack 

Both O and Mac, 
No Irishmen are they." 

Thus within the boundary lines of our own Britannic 
realm we have "son; 9 "fitz" " ap" "Mac? and " O" 


employed in the formation of one single class of 
surnames. Sometimes the Welsh " ap" became 
" ab? and thus ap-Evan has become " Bevan," ap- 
Owen, Bowen, ap-Ethell, Bethell, and ap-Huggins, 
Buggins. In the same way, ap-Lloyd is found in 
the London Directory as Bloyd. 

There are about five thousand people in London 
bearing names of which "Robert" is the root and 
foundation. I wonder if it has ever struck my reader 
that the nominal existence of four-fifths of this large 
population is the result of the life, adventures, and 
celebrity of that great outlaw Robin Hood. To gather 
up the links of evidence would fill a volume. I will 
occupy the remainder of this chapter by a brief 
resume of the argument. If I prove my assertion, 
this will be demonstrating the reality of my title, and 
show conclusively that the London Directory may be 
well styled a " romance." 

That Robin Hood was the fictitious name of 
Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, has been proved an idle 
fable ; but although there are serious doubts as to 
the existence of William Tell, there need be none as 
to the individuality of Robin Hood. That a noted 
forester an outlaw of this name roved in the 
neighbourhood of Sherwood during the first four 
decades of the thirteenth century, is beyond dispute. 

" In Locksley town, in merry Nottinghamshire, 

In merry sweet Locksley town, 
There bold Robin Hood was born and was bred, 
Bold Robin of famous renown." 

He and his companions lived by spoil. His popu- 
larity was twofold in origin. He was credited with 


a spirit of liberty chafing against an oppressive and 
tyrannic rule. He was equally credited, truly or 
the reverse, with unbounded kindness to the poor. 
Camden styles him u prcedonem mitissimum" the 
gentlest of thieves. Sir Walter Scott says of the 
spoil he heaped up, that he " shook the superflux to 
the poor," and, in respect of government, "showed 
the heavens more just." Dying about the year 
1247, it was n t verv l n g before he became an 
" institution " : every country ballad, every chap- 
book had its story of Robin Hood, his princely 
spirit, his skill in archery, his wondrous adventures, 
and his hair-breadth escapes. The impression 
that he was of noble birth only added to his 

This of course could not but have its effect upon 
the nomenclature of the time. It is well known 
that when Thomas a Beckett was murdered, almost 
every child born immediately afterwards was, if a 
boy, christened Thomas. To this tragedy myriads 
of Thompsons and Tomlinsons owe their surnames. 
The dictionary and the directory are under equal 
obligations to Robin Hood. There need be little 
doubt that Cough's suggestion that his real name was 
"Robin o' the Wood" (i.e. Sherwood) is true. The 
corruption " Hood " is perfectly natural. 

(i.) Look at some of our place-names. In 1730 
there was a " Robin Hood's Well," about three miles 
north of Doncaster ; and Leland, the great itinerary, 
visited "Robyn Hudd's Bay," under which antique 
dress we recognise the familiar village and coast 
"Robin Hood's Bay," betwixt Whitby and Scar- 


borough. Everybody has seen a Robin Hood's oak, 
or a Robin Hood's bower. At this moment there 
are hundreds of country inns in the north, called 
" Robin Hood," with a picture of the bold archer in 
dress proper, or intended to be so, to the period in 
which he is supposed to have lived. His bow and 
arrow are of course always depicted, and occasionally 
a deer in the distance. 

(2.) Look at the old English proverbs ; and we may 
premise that if a man has created a proverb he has 
made himself immortal. " Good even, Robin Hood," 
quoted by Skelton, poet-laureate to Henry VIIL, 
implied "civility extorted by fear." Fuller quotes, 
" Many men talk of Robin Hood that neere shott in 
his bow." " To over-shoot Robin Hood," is another 
proverbial saying. This is quoted by Sir Philip 
Sidney. " Tales of Robin Hood are good for fools," 
is quoted by Camden. The most familiar, however, 
was "to sell Robin Hood's pennyworths." Fuller 
refers to this as of things half sold, half given ; the 
great robber parting lightly with what he came by 
lightly. "Robin's choice," this or nothing, would 
seem almost to have suggested " Hobson's choice," 
for Hobson is a patronymic of Robert, Hob being 
the old familiar pet name for the same. 

(3.) To Robin Hood, again, we doubtless owe the 
familiarity of several names applied to the spirit 
world. Our forefathers were very superstitious, espe- 
cially the country peasantry. A belief in " brownies," 
" dobbies," " pixies," and elves kindly or mischievous, 
still largely prevails in places removed from the busy 
towns. Superstitions of this kind die where men 


are herded together. It is only in dusky woodlands 
ghostly sights appear, or in the silences of the rural 
churchyard or forest avenue that voices are heard 
whose utterance is not from human throat ! Cer- 
tainly Robin Hood must stand sponsor for much of 
the dread that nurses infused into naughty children's 
breasts. The pet names or nurses' names of Robert 
were "Robin," "Hob," and "Dob." The ignis fatuus, 
to this day an object of apprehension, was associated 
early with the bold freebooter : 

" Some call him Robin Goodfellow^ 

Hob-goblin, or mad Crisp. 
And some againe doe terme him oft, 
By name of Will the Wispe." 

So says an old ballad. Robin Goodfellow and Hob- 
goblin, it will be seen, represent the same name. 
Another title for the same was " Hob-lanthorn " (i.e. 
Robin's lanthorn). Dr. Halliwell gives the term 
" Hob-thrush," adding that it is always used in 
association with Robin Goodfellow. In the "Two 
Lancashire Lovers" (1640) it is said, "If he be no 
hob-thrush, nor no Robin Goodfellow, I could finde 
with all my heart to sip up a sillybub with him." 
Here, then, are four names, "Robin Goodfellow," 
"Hob-goblin," "Hob-lanthorn," "Hob-thrush;" all 
used to give personation to that curious light which 
occasionally may be seen in marshy and woody 
districts. How natural that these should be asso- 
ciated with that mysterious denizen of the forest, 
whose name was in everybody's mouth, and who 
came and went, who showed himself here, there, and 
everywhere, and yet could never be caught ! 


" From elves, hobs, and fairies, 
Defend us, good Heaven," 

say Beaumont and Fletcher in one of their plays. 
And every reader of Shakespear will remember how 
in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" the Fairy ad- 
dresses Puck as 

" That shrewd and knavish sprite 
Called Robin Goodfellow : " 

while by-and-by she adds : 

" Those that Hob-goblin call you, and sweet Puck, 
You do their worst, and they shall have good luck." 

In the extreme north of England the pet name for 
Robert was Dob, or " Dobbin." Curiously enough, to 
this day the term for Hob-goblin is there "Dobby."* 
I ask the reader, if this can be an accident ? Could 
it have been possible that five distinct names should 
be given to the ignis fatuus, or to such woodland 
elves as were supposed to reveal themselves under 
his frolicsome light, all having Robert as their chief 
component, had not the thousand and one stories 
about Robin Hood and his merry men and their 
nightly escapades been spread over the land by the 
ballad-mongers of the time that immediately followed 
his death ? 

(4.) Once more : look at our general nomenclature 

* Since this appeared in The Fireside, I became vicar of a 
church on the borders of Cumberland. I find that there is an 
old hall with a celebrated " dobby " in it, within a few stones cast 
of my vicarage ! It (i.e. the ghost) is always called the " dobby " 


of men, birds, beasts, and shrubs. So common had 
" Hob " become in the northern and midland districts 
(for every man you might meet 'twixt York and 
Leicester was sure to be " Hob "), that it became a 
cant term for a country yokel. Thomas Fuller in his 
" Lives " speaks of " country-hobs " where we should 
speak of "country-men." Thus, too, Coriolanus is 
made to say 

" Why in this wool-less toge should I stand here, 
To beg of Hob and Dick ? " 

The /#/-ass is just as often called "dobbin" in 
the north, and an ewe-lamb a 7^-lamb. The tame 
ruddock has become the " robin redbreast" ; a chicken, 
a roblet (robelot, i.e., little robin) ; bindweed goes by 
the title of " Robin-run in the hedge " ; the common 
club moss is " Robin Hood's hatband " ; while every 
child is familiar with "ragged robin," and "herb- 

Surely this is enough to testify to the popularity 
of Robert! The fact is, that Robin Hood gave a 
start to his name similar in its effects to that of a 
snowball. He has grasped all he has touched. He 
has left his memory upon everything. He has 
stamped his march upon things animate and in- 
animate. So long as we have a language and a 
dictionary, a nomenclature, and a directory, we shall 
daily be reading and looking upon words and names 
which, however meaningless on the surface, are 
teeming with recollections of the bold outlaw, whose 
thrilling adventures, whose kindly bounties, whose 
supposed devotion to liberty, made him the idol of 


his own time, and an object of interest to his country- 
men so long as England shall endure. 

And now we may ask, what has Robin Hood done 
for English nomenclature, so far as surnames are con- 
cerned ? Well, in the first place, he made " Robert " 
the favourite name at the font for a century at least. 
We even find Robin Hood itself appearing as a 
surname. A tradesman' bearing the sobriquet of 
Thomas Robyn-Hod, lived at Winchelsea in 1388. 
At the very time that Robert was thus popular, 
baptismal surnames were being established. As a 
consequence, Robert was no sooner a Christian name 
than it became a candidate for the place of a surname. 
Remembering the different pet names in familiar use, 
it will not be so astonishing that I should be able to 
collect no fewer than forty-six separately-spelled 
surnames, all descended from this one single appella- 
tion ! while London alone could gather into Hyde 
Park as many as five thousand souls whose individu- 
ality is recognised by their associates through the 
medium of this famous title. 

(a) Robert has given us Robert, Roberts, Robart, 
Robarts, Robertson, Roberson, and Roberton. 

(b) Robin has bequeathed Robin, Robins, Robbins, 
Roblin, Robinson, and Robison. 

(c) Rob has left us Robb, Robbs, Robbie, Robson 
Robkins, Ropkins, and Ropes. 

(d) Dob has handed down to us Dobb, Dobbs, Dobbie, 
Dobson, Dobbins, Bobbing, Dobinson, and Dobison. 

(e) Hob has transmitted Hobb, Hobbs, Hobbes, 
Hobbiss, Hobson, Hobbins, Hoblyn, Hopkins, Hop- 
kinson, Hopps, and Hopson. 



(/) Besides these there were once such familiar 
French diminutives as Robinet, Dobinet, Robelot, 
and Robertot. These did not come directly from 
France or Normandy. They were forms adopted by 
the country people from the habit, common then as 
now, of copying the fashions of the more noble 
families. Elizabeth Robinett will be found in the 
London Directory. Hers is the only instance that 
I can find still existing. The rest were all surnames 
in the fourteenth century.* 

(g) The Welsh, seizing upon the name, turned 
ap-Robert and ap-Robyn into Probert and Probyn, 

Can I add anything to prove the popularity of 
Robin Hood ? It is possible that we could not have 
spoken of Hobbism, or of a Hobbist, for the founder 
of that system of philosophy might have borne some 
other name. It is possible that there might have 
been no " Hobson's choice," for that worthy livery- 
man at Cambridge might, under some other sobriquet, 
have compelled the young collegian to take the next 
horse on the list, or none. Certainly our old friend 
Punch would have been unable to poke fun at 
Cockneydom under at least one name of the famous 
company of "Brown, Jones, Smith, and Robinson" 
It is possible, too, that "before you could say Jack 
Robinson" would never have become an English 
commonplace. How the phrase originated I cannot 

* After the appearance of this chapter as an article in The Fire- 
side, I received several letters from the counties of Cambridge, 
Stafford, and Devon, testifying to the existence of the surname 
" Robinet " in several secluded villages. 


say, but it is a very old one, if the couplet quoted 
from an old play by Dr. Halliwell be genuine: 

" A warke it ys as easie to be doone, 
As tys to saye 'Jacke Robyson.'" 



HE present and following chapter I 
purpose devoting to the further con- 
sideration of the subject of baptismal 
names. There are distinct epochs 
in the history of names, as in the 
history of everything else. One great 
crisis in our national nomenclature was the Norman 
Conquest. With the exception of Alfred, Arthur, 
Edwin, Edward, Ethel, and say a dozen other agno- 
mens which were preserved through various accidents, 
all English names of the pre-Norman period disap- 
peared before the end of the twelfth century. They 
were literally submerged beneath the advancing tide 
of Norman titles and usages. All the great popular 
sobriquets so familiar to us to-day, such as William, 
Henry, Ralph, Richard, Gerald, Robert, and even 
Scripture and Saint's-day names like John, Ellis 
(Elias), Stephen, and Matthew, belong to the later 


But an equally grave crisis in English nomenclature 
was the publication of an English Bible, and the 
Reformation of Religion that followed. From that 
day all our common and familiar Bible names came 
into use. Till then the only Scripture names in 
vogue were those set down in the Calendar of the 
Saints, or such names as were employed in the 
"Mysteries," or "Plays" taken from Scripture stories, 
performed at festivals for the amusement and instruc- 
tion of the peasantry and tradespeople. From the 
day of the Reformation the out-of-the-way sobriquets 
of the Bible came into favour. As these increased, 
what we may call the pagan names decreased. The 
popularity of Harry, Dick, Robert, and Walter began 
to fade. Some, like Hamond, Avice, Drew, Payn, 
and Warin, altogether disappeared, while Guy, 
Baldwin, and Edward held but a most precarious 

Here then are two epochs the Norman, and the 
Puritan. Let us confine ourselves in this chapter to 
the first. 

" Pagan " and " Christian " were both favourite 
baptismal names in the Norman epoch. The former 
was registered as "Payn" or "Paine." Chaucer says, 

"The constable and Dame Hermigold, his wife, 
Were payens, and that country everywhere." 

All our "Pagans," " Payns," " Paines," and "Pin- 
sons " are from this old-fashioned sobriquet. A 
century ago, the Hon. Thomas Erskine having been 
seized with a serious illness, and kindly tended at 
Lady Payne's house in London, wrote, 


t " Tis true I am ill ; but I need not complain, 

For he never knew pleasure who never knew Payne." 

Christian has never been popular in England, but 
Christopher has ; and besides the long "Christophers" 
and " Christopherson," has left us Kitts and Kitson. 

Another name, a Scripture name too, is now all 
but wholly disused that of Samson. I daresay many 
of my readers have thought that our many Sampsons 
are all but entirely descended from Sam-son, i.e., the 
son of Samuel. I have no hesitation in claiming a 
full half for the son of Manoah, the Danite. The 
old registers teem with entries like " Samson de 
Battisford " or " Sampson Dernebrough." Shallow 
says (2 Hen. IF.), " And the very same day did I 
fight with one Sampson Stockfish, a fruiterer behind 
Gray's Inn." 

" I am not Samson, nor Sir Guy, nor Colbrand, 
To mow 'em down before me," 

says the porter's assistant in Henry VIII. The fact 
is, the story of Samson was a favourite one with our 
forefathers, and often performed at the miracle-plays. 
There are nearly fifty Sampsons and Samsons in the 
London Directory, some of them being of purely 
Jewish descent. " Elegant Extracts," a favourite 
storehouse of good, bad, and indifferent (very) poetry 
for the youth of our country in the last century, has 
the following, anent this name : 

"Jack, eating rotten cheese, did say, 
' Like Samson, I my thousands slay.' 
* I vow,' quoth Roger, ' so you do, 
And with the self-same weapon too.' " 


Speaking of Roger, we may note that he is fast 
going out of fashion. There was a day when " Hodge" 
was as familiar as Hob, Dicon, or Harry. A single 
glance at our Directory will prove this, for to him we 
owe all our Hodges, Hodgsons, Hodgkins, Hodg- 
kinsons, Hodsons, Hotchkiss's, etc. Just as Hob, 
from Robert, became Dob in North England, so 
Hodge, from Roger, became Dodge. From Dodge 
we get our Dodgshons, and Dodgesons. Just as, 
also, Hodgson became Hodson, so Dodgson has 
become Dodson. The Welsh turned Ap-Roger into 
Prodger. All this proves a popularity for Roger 
utterly beyond its present modest pretensions. 

A great deal of nonsense has been written upon 
one of the noblest family names in England Howard. 
It is constantly said, and as constantly reiterated, 
that the sobriquet is one of occupation, being nothing 
more nor less than Hog-ward, or hog-herd, corre- 
sponding to Swinnart from swine-herd, Coward from 
cow-herd, Shepherd from sheep-herd, Calvert from 
calve-herd, and Stoddart and Stottard from stot-herd 
(i.e., stot, bullock). All these latter are without 
doubt what they seem to be, for old registers give 
them in their more manifest dress. But Howard is 
only another form of Harvard, or Hereward, or 
Heoruvard. Thus we find such an early entry as 
John Fitz-howard (that is, John, the son of Howard), 
clearly a baptismal surname. When Byron wished 
to hurl an invective at the head of his relative, the 
Earl of Carlisle, he quoted Pope, 

" What can ennoble knaves, or fools, or cowards ? 
Alas ! not all the blood of all the Howards." 


The italics are Byron's, and every one knows the 
family name of the Lords of Carlisle. As a quota- 
tion, it v/as apt ; as applicable to the Earl, it was 
the opposite ; but Byron in a rage meant Byron 
ungovernable either by courtesy or truth. However, 
my point is, that the ancestral house of the Howards 
are not descended from a hog-herd, though it would 
be no disgrace if they were, for a shepherd once 
became a king and a poet, but from one of those 
grand personal names which existed in England 
before the Norman Conquest was dreamt of. " Here- 
ward, the Saxon " has been made familiar within the 
last few years by Charles Kingsley. This is but the 
same name in an earlier dress. It might have been 
considered a happy thought, if the author had 
dedicated his book to one of the Howards, and 
stereotyped their identity. 

In my work on " English Surnames " I have given 
a somewhat exhaustive list of the various appellations 
formed from English baptismal names. So I will 
merely hint at a few and pass on. Walter, as Wat, 
gave us Watkins, Watts, Watson, and Watkinson. 
The old familiar form for Walter was Water, 
which explains Shakespear's play upon the name in 
Henry VI.: 

"My name is Walter Whitmore. 
How now ! why start'st thou ? What, doth death 

affright ? 

Suffolk. Thy name affrights me, in whose sound is death. 
A cunning man did calculate my birth, 
And told me that by water I should die." 

Our Waters and Watersons are thus explained^ 


Antony has bequeathed us Tonkin, Tonson, and 
Tounson ; Philip, Phipps, Phillips, and Philpotts (i.e. 
Philipot, that is, little Philip, a pet name). A curious 
form of Philpot may be seen in the Directory in the 
shape of Fillpot. This reminds us that many a play 
has been made on the name. It was not so very 
long ago that Punch facetiously remarked upon the 
fact that the newly elected Bishop of Worcester was 
Philpott, the then Bishop of Exeter being the cele- 
brated Philpotts, 

" ' A good appointment ? No, it's not/ 

Said old beer-drinking Peter Watts ; 
1 At Worcester one but hears " Philpott," 
At generous Exeter " Philpotts." ' " 

A large number of patronymics are to be seen 
in the surnames that come under the division " N " 
in the Directory. In the old song "Joan to the 
Maypole " it is said, 

" Nan, Noll, Kate, Moll, 
Brave lasses, have lads to attend 'em : 

Hodge, Nick, Tom, Dick, 
Brave country dancers, who can amend 'em ?" 

" Nan " stands for Anna or Hannah, Noll for 
Olive or Oliver, in this case Olive, a girl's name. 
In fact, every name that began with a vowel was 
turned into a pet form beginning with "N." Edward 
became Ned, and Emma Nem. Thus in St. Peter's, 
Cornhill, the register says, 

" Sept. 20, 1577. Fryday, buryed, Nem Carve, daughter of 
Harry Carye." 

Humphrey became Nump, and Abel, Nab. In 


Ben Jonson's "Alchemist," the tobacco man Abel 
addresses Face, 

" Yes, sir ; I have another thing I would impart," 
to which Face replies, 

" Out with it, Nab." 

Again, Isabella became Nib. The result of this is, 
that such surnames as Nibbs, Nabbs, and Nemms 
or Neams, are common. Even Nance, which figures 
twice in the Postal Directory, is just as likely to be 
the old " Nans," from Anna, as from the town of 
Nantes. The owner can take his choice, however, 
and probably will prefer the local origin. 

Talking of girls' names, we may notice how many 
surnames owe their origin to Matilda, Emma, Isabella, 
and Petronilla. There are pages of Tillotsons, 
Tillots, Tilletts, Tilts, and Tills, all from the old pet 
form Till. Emma, too, is commemorated in little 
companies of Emms, Emps, Emsons, Empsons, Em- 
motts, Emmetts, and Emmotsons ; while Isabella is 
not far behind with the retinue of Ibbs, Nibbs, Ibbotts, 
Ibbetts, and Ibbotsons. Petronilla, the feminine form 
of Peter, was always known as Parnel, and is thus 
found in St. Peter's, Cornhill : 

"1586, Aprill 17. Sonday, christening of Parnell, daughter 
of William Averell, merchaunt tailor." 

Hence our many Parnells and Parnalls. Mary has 
left us Mollison and Marriott (i.e. little Mary), but 
was never popular in England during the days of 
surname formation. Maria was practically unknown 
till the seventeenth century. As Charles Lamb says, 


" Maria asks a statelier pace, 

' Ave, Maria, full of grace !' 

Romish rites before me rise, 

Image worship, sacrifice, 
And well-meant but mistaken pieties." 

It is a proof that even in days long anterior to 
the Reformation the English peasantry had an in- 
rooted objection to a foreign religious yoke, in the 
shape of Popery, that such names as Peter and Mary 
should be so scantily represented. 'Tis true that 
Peter has left his mark upon the Directory. There 
are shoals of Peters, Petersons, Perkins, Pearces, 
Piers, Pierces, and Pearsons, but their origin belongs 
to an earlier day. Certain it is, that at least a century 
before the reign of Mary, the name was growing into 
disrepute with the English people, and no doubt the 
obnoxious tax of Peters-pence was at the root of it. 

Guy was turned in Norman nurseries into Guiot 
(i.e., little Guy) ; this in English was transformed 
into Wyatt. How popular this name was four hun- 
dred years ago, is proved by the fact that there are 
nearly sixty Wyatts set down in the London Direc- 
tory alone. William, Walter, Warin, and Wyatt all 
testify to the change of French G into English W. 
In the French Directories they will still be found 
as Guillaume, Gualter, Guarin, and Guiot. And as 
Guillaume became William, so Guillemot (little Wil- 
liam) became Williamot, and then Wilmot. The 
French, however, unlike the English, were very fond 
of adding two diminutives to the name. Thus, Guillot 
(little Will) became Guillotin (little wee Will). This 
reminds us of Dr. Guillotin, who invented that terrible 


instrument which played such a horrible part in the 
French Revolution. In the same way, Hugh (always 
spelt " Hew " in mediaeval records) became English 
Hewet (little Hugh), and French Hugot. But our 
neighbours, inserting another diminutive, turned it 
into Hugenot (little wee Hugh). This at once ex- 
plains a matter of much contention. There has been 
much strife as to the origin of the word Huguenot. 
Had our friends only been aware of the fondness 
of the French some centuries ago for double diminu- 
tives, they would have seen at once that the sect 
sprang from some individual bearing that name, 
the origin of which is perfectly simple. It may be 
of interest to add, that we in England have never 
used double diminutives. In France it was the rule 
rather than the exception, as their Directories fully 
prove. Introduced by the Normans, we have both 
"in" and "ot" or " et," as in "Colin" and " Hew*/," 
from Nicholas and Hugh ; but we never conjoin them 
to one name. A Frenchman four hundred years ago 
would have turned them into "Col-in-et," " Col-ot-in," 
" Hugu-in-ot," or " Hug-ot-in." 'Tis true, we in 
England called children " Rob-in-et," as I have 
shown in a previous chapter ; but it was a mere 
passing fancy. I was wrong, however, in stating 
that the surname "Robinet" is practically obsolete, 
for Mr. Hutton, the Rector of Stilton, writes to 
inform me that in a village adjacent there are several 
families of this name. 

Thomas owed its great popularity to Thomas a 
Becket, who for a time at least was a pgpular idol. 
Few baptismal names have laid their impress on 


the London Directory as this has done. Rows of 
Thomas's appear, many hailing from the Welsh 
border. These are flanked by columns of Thomp- 
sons with a " p," and Thomsons without a " p." 
Dancing attendance on these more important mem- 
bers of the Thomas family, are scattered up and 
down a few Thomassets, and Thomsetts, memorials 
of the old pet name "Thomaset" (i.e. little Thomas). 
But Thomas seemed to imagine that the " h " in his 
side ought to be got rid of, so he appears in shoals 
as Tompkins, with a "p" again, and again as Tomkins 
without a "p." Poor relations do not like to make 
their connection too prominent, for fear of giving 
offence, so in the background, but close enough to 
be ready to make good their claim, appear several 
Toms, Thorns, Tomes, and Tombs. This last looks 
very funereal indeed, and would seem to be a local 
name taken from one who has had his dwelling amid 
the tombs, but " b " was often put at the end in that 
way. Thus Timbs is from Tims, that is, Timothy. 
A string of Tomlins and Tomlinsons completes the 
list. Many will remember the rhyme about Thomas 
the footman, whom his lady married : 

" Dear lady, think it no reproach, 

It showed a generous mind, 
To take poor Thomas in the coach, 
Who rode before behind. 

" Dear lady, think it no reproach, 
It show'd you loved the more, 
To take poor Thomas in the coach, 
Who rode behind before" 

There are a fair number of Guns, Gunns, and 


Gunsons, in our Directory. There is a slang phrase 
about being the "son of a gun." This was a common 
occurrence in old days when such entries as " Richard 
films Gunne " were frequently made, The fact is, 
" Gun " was a baptismal name, and the surnames 
mentioned above are but sprung from it. It is not 
many years since Mr. Gunson preached the assize 
sermon at Cambridge before Mr. Baron Alderson 
and Mr. Justice Patteson. The following rhyme 
got abroad : 

" A Baron, a Justice, a Preacher, sons three : 
The Preacher, the son of a Gun is he J 
The Baron, he is the son of a tree ; 
Whose son is the Justice I can't well see, 
But read him Patetson, and all will agree 
That the son of his father the Justice must be." 

Alderson is but a form of Aldrichson, Aldrich being 
once a common baptismal name ; while Patterson, 
Paterson, Pattison, and Patteson, are all commemo- 
rative of Patrick, who, strange to say, was scarcely 
remembered at the font at all in Ireland at a time 
when he was very popular in England. 

Every country has a sobriquet which stands as a 
kind of baptismal name for the nation, as distinct 
from the individual. England is represented by 
John, or John Bull ; Scotland by Alexander, as 
Sawney or Sandy ; Ireland by Patrick, as Pat ; and 
Wales by David, in the dress of Taffy. Let us trace 
their origin very briefly, and see their effect upon our 
nomenclature. In 1385 the Guild of St. George, at 
Norwich, contained 376 names; of these 128 were 
John ! This extraordinary proportion was the direct 


result of the Crusades. From the Jordan, in which 
Christ had been baptized, every crusader brought 
home in his bottle water for baptismal purposes. 
He could not christen his child by the name of Jesus, 
the Baptized this would be blasphemy; but he could 
give it the name of the baptizer, John. Remember, 
too, that John the Baptist was "Elias." Hence 
Baptist, John, Ellis, and Jordan, became the favourite 
baptismal names for several generations. Our 
Jordans, Jordansons, Jordsons, Judds, Judsons, and 
Judkins are all memorials of this, for Judd did not 
become the pet name of George till the seventeenth 
century. In early days it was the nickname of Jordan. 
The other day I saw a register of a child christened 
"River," his surname being Jordan. Thus both 
names have the same origin. This kind of thing is 
common. I know registers where may be seen three 
" River Jordans." " Windsor Castle " occurs in a 
Derbyshire church record. But John took the lead. 
One of the most curious freaks in the history of 
nomenclature is that which made Jack the nickname 
for "John." The French for James was Jaques 
(Jacobus). This being the then favourite name in 
France, got popularized in England, with this differ- 
ence, that the common folk took it and made it the 
pet name of their own favourite name "John." Thus 
our Jacks, Jacksons, Jacklins, are all reminiscences 
of John rather than James. It is so still. No one 
ever dreams of styling a boy called James, Jack. 
To this day, John and Jack are synonymous. The 
Flemings brought in " Hans " (i.e. Johannes}. These 
have originated our Hankins, Hankinsons, Hancocks, 


Handcocks, Hanks, and Hands. Further distinction 
was obtained by nicknaming some boys as "Little- 
John," " Proper-John " (i.e., handsome : in country 
parts, they still say of a young man, " He's a proper 
young fellow "). The French introduced Gros-Jean 
(Big-John) and Bon-Jean (Good-John), and the latter 
got corrupted into Bunyan. To John we owe our 
Johnsons, Jones, Jennings, Jenkinsons, Jenkins, and 
Jenks. No doubt, when Mr. Jenkins wrote " Ginx's 
Baby," he was aware that both author and hero 
bore the same name, for "Ginx" is simply "Jinks" 
or " Jenks " caricatured. 

Miss Yonge thinks that Margaret Atheling intro- 
duced Alexander into Scotland from the Hungarian 
Court. Her third son was Alexander, and under him 
and the other two Alexanders Scotia was prosperous. 
Hence its great popularity. Sawney and Sandy are 
the pet forms, and the surnames Alister, McAlister in 
the Highlands, and Sanders or Saunders in the Low- 
lands, will for ever prevent the name being forgotten. 

Patrick, the patron saint of Irishmen, whose festival 
is kept wherever Irishmen may be, has, strange to 
say, left scarcely a single surname. There is " Kil- 
patrick," and " Gos-patrick " i.e., servant of Patrick 
(Gos = gossoon, i.e. gargon), but no real patronymic. 
How is this ? One single reason will suffice. At the 
time of surname formation " Patrick " was scarcely 
ever used at the font. " Teague " was the popular 
name till the end of the seventeenth century. Under 
150 years ago, Englishmen spoke of an Irishman, 
not as " Pat," but as " Teague." I could prove this 
equally from registers and ballads. 


" Taffy/' of course, was and is the Welsh national 
name, and owes his origin to St. David, who lived in 
the sixth century, and through his sanctity caused his 
bishop's see to be changed from Menevia into St. 
David's. Davy, Davis, and Davies are therefore 
common enough in the Principality. From our 
childhood we have heard that 

" Taffy was a Welshman, 
Taffy was a thief ; " 

but we trust, for the credit of our friends across the 
Severn, that this refers to a particular Taffy, and not 
to the national Taffy. Black sheep are to be found 
in every flock. That Taffy can be a hero, Happy 
Dodd and his compatriots can prove; and never 
was the Albert Medal more richly deserved or more 
bravely won, than on the morning that witnessed the 
rescue of the imprisoned miners in the Welsh coal-pit. 
All honour to Taffy ! 



SAID in my last chapter that I 
should devote the present one to 
a relation of the causes that led 
to a complete revolution in our 
English baptismal nomenclature in 
the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries. During this comparatively brief period, 
most of the popular mediaeval names lapsed, not 
merely from favour, but into total oblivion. Tis 
true, this does not properly appertain to the 
subject of surnames, because, having now become an 
established system, it was impossible for the Refor- 
mation to affect them to any appreciable extent. 
That is, the Reformation could revolutionize our 
baptismal names, but not our surnames, Had the 
Reformation occurred three or even two centuries 
earlier, the London Directory of 1877 would have 
presented a totally different appearance to that which 


it does. Instead of half a thousand Harrisons and 
Harrises, we should have had, may be, a hundred 
" Calebsons," and "Abnersons," and " Joshuasons," 
and "Jaelsons." Why? Because surnames were 
undergoing their hereditary formation then. 

Nevertheless, our subject is quite apropos to the 
Directory, for Christian names abound there as well 
as surnames. If the pages of that great tome do not 
show that our surnames were visibly affected by an 
open Bible, a Reformation of Religion, and a Puritan 
Commonwealth, it is not so with the baptismal names. 
Every page bears strong evidence of a wondrous and 
stirring revolution. 

Let us first clear the ground. In what relation 
did the Bible stand to English nomenclature in pre- 
Reformation days ? The Scripture names in use 
during that period were fourfold in origin. 

(a) Names so prominent in Scripture that none 
could be ignorant of them, such as Adam and Eve. 
All our Atkins, Atkinsons, Adams, Adamsons, 
Adkins, Adkinsons, and Addisons come from Adam ; 
all our Eves, Evisons, Evetts, Evitts, Evotts, and 
Evesons, from Eve. An old will, dated 1391, speaks 
of the same individual as Eve and Evot (i.e. little 
Eve). Adam and Eve, four hundred years ago, 
were two of our commonest personal names. 

(b) Names of Bible heroes, whose story was wont to 
be dramatized on religious festivals, and thus made 
familiar to the peasantry. The offering of Isaac, 
and Daniel in the den of lions, were two favourite 
plays. Thus, Isaac as Higg or Hick, and Daniel as 
Dan, were popular everywhere. Thus we got as sur- 


names, Higgins (i.e. little Isaac), Higginson, Hicks, 
Hickson, Higgott and Higgs, from the one, and 
Daniels, Danson, Dankins, Dannett (i.e. little Daniel), 
and Dann from the other. Higgonet, a double 
diminutive (treated of in our last chapter), became 
Hignett ; and even non-smokers must have seen the 
virtues of Hignett's " mixture " glowingly described 
in the daily advertisements ! Imagine Higgins or 
Hignett as derived from Isaac ! Nevertheless, such 
is the undoubted fact. 

(c) Ecclesiastic rtames, or names taken from the 
calendar of the saints, such as Bartholomew, Nicholas, 
or Peter. The reader would be indeed amazed if I 
were to furnish him with a list of all the surnames 
founded upon these three once familiar names. Bate, 
Bartle, and Bartelot were the pet forms of Bartho- 
lomew, whence our Bates, Battys, Batsons, Bartles, 
and Bartletts. St. Nicholas gave us Nicholls and 
Nicholson, Nix, Nicks, Nixon, and Nickson. Cole 
(whence our Coles) was the most favoured pet form, 
however, of Nicholas ; and this, with the popular 
Norman-French diminutives "in" and "et n appended, 
made Colin and Colet. Hence our many Collins, 
Collinsons, Colsons, Colletts and Colets, not to 
mention the double diminutive Colinet. As for 
Peter, I have already reminded the reader of the 
pages of names that the London-Directory contains, 
all originated by that agnomen upon which Rome has 
founded her most pretentious and arrogant claims. 
When we reflect that previous to the incoming of 
the Normans there were no Scripture names in use 
in England, saving in the case of a few ecclesiastics, 


who had adopted them at ordination, we can in some 
little degree realize the great revolution our national 
nomenclature had undergone in respect of the three 
classes I have here summarised. 

(d) Festival names, such as Christmas or Pascal. 
The other day I was passing through a street in 
Kensington, and saw " Pentecost " over a door. It 
is a curious surname, and yet not uncommon. The 
reader perhaps wonders how such a term got into 
our Directory. Its origin is perfectly simple. Like 
John, or Thomas, it was but a baptismal name, and 
having become so used, it inevitably came to the 
honours of a surname. How ? says a reader. This 
way, John, the son of Pentecost, five hundred years 
ago, becomes John Pentecost, and the thing is done. 
Pentecost is no exceptional instance. The London 
Directory contains many a Christmas, or Midwinter, 
or Paschal, or Pask, or Nowell, or Noel. All these 
mediaeval terms for religious seasons were used as 
baptismal names, (being given to children born on 
these festivals,) and then became surnames. The 
Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel got his surname in 
such a manner. Noel was quite a familiar term in 
England and France for Christmas Day ; and a child 
born on that eventful morn would naturally receive 
as his font-name that which gave title to the day, 
especially when we consider that Noel is nothing 
more than " Natalis," the " natal day." As time 
passed on, and the meaning of Noel became obscure, 
the Christmas waits pronounced it " Now well ! Now 
well : " as they sang their midnight carol. It was 
a pretty and significant mistake. Surely, as Noel 


comes round, many a believer can catch the strain 
of angelic " glad tidings " of a Saviour born, and 
say, " Now well, indeed, for me and all mankind." 
"Newell" is the commonest form of the surname. 
In France, all children born on Easter Day were 
christened " Pascal." This, becoming a surname, 
was handed down to Blaise Pascal, one of the most 
brilliant and most pious men that that great country 
has ever produced. In the north of England Easter 
was always known as " Pace," or " Pask." These 
of course are common surnames. "To go a pace- 
egging " is still a familiar phrase in Lancashire and 
Yorkshire ; and the prettily ornamented eggs are 
still sold in the shops as Easter comes round. By 
a happy conceit, they are often called " Peace-eggs " ; 
and certainly " Pace " has proved "Peace" to myriads 
of souls. The Registrar-General, in one of his 
reports, came across a Christmas Day i.e., the 
child's surname being "Day," the parents had it 
christened "Christmas." "Pentecost," for a child 
born on Whit-Sunday, was once extremely popular.* 
But these quaint customs have come to an end. 
To baptize an infant by the name of "Pentecost" 
or "Paschal" would now be considered a piece of 
eccentricity, not to say irreverence. The Reformed 
Church of England has sufficiently emphasized these 
festivals in her Services, without laying too great 
stress upon them. The superstitions and follies that 
gave over-prominence to such seasons in mediaeval 
days ceased with an open English Bible and a purer 

* A servant of King Henry III. was called by the simple and 
only name of " Pentecostes " (Inquis., 13 Edit., No. 13). 


and simpler Christianity. The danger now is a rush 
to the other end of the tether. I believe there are 
thousands of living Nonconformists who regret that 
they have allowed such services as would have 
commemorated the events of Easter Day, Good 
Friday, and Ascension Day to fall into desuetude. 
The neglect of Ascension Day, even among Church- 
men, is, I think, much to be deplored. 

But if the Reformation threw one class of names 
into the cold shadow of neglect and oblivion, it took 
care to fill up the gap with an assortment of its own 
selection. We may set down the interval between 
1580 and 1720 as the most curious era in the history 
of personal names, whether of this or any other 
country. The more I have studied our English 
baptismal registers of the seventeenth century, and 
I may say, without boasting, few have studied them 
more frequently than I, the more profoundly am I 
convinced that no other revolution of a religious or 
social character in the annals of nations can present 
claims to eccentricity equal to that which, beginning 
with the Reformation, found its climax in the Puritan 
Commonwealth. Alas! I can only touch upon the 
subject here, but I could easily fill a book with 
instances gleaned by myself in a not very long life. 
Friends interested in the same pursuit, I must add, 
have also helped me ; not to mention Notes and 
Queries, that storehouse of treasures to antiquaries 
of every bent. 

The first signs of serious change betrayed them- 
selves at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign. The 
English Bible rested in English hands. But it 


was a new book. Names familiar enough in 1877, 
but probably heard of for the first time in 1577, were 
drawn forth from their concealment, and made to 
subserve the new impulse of the nation. It was then 
that the minister at the font had to begin registering 
such names as " Abacucke Harman," " Sydrach 
Sympson," " Phenenna Salmon/' " Gamaliel Capell," 
"Archelaus Gifford," " Melchizedek Payne," " Dyna 
Bocher," or " Zebulon Clerke." It was as if the 
Bible were a new country full of verdant tracks, and 
as they passed through each plucked the flower that 
pleased him most. By the time King James came 
to the throne, " Phineas," "Philemon," "Uriah," 
"Aquila," " Priscilla," and "Hilkiah" had become 
the rage. Before he died, Harry had fallen into 
neglect, Ralph and Guy were utterly despised, and 
names like Hamlet, or Harnnet (Shakespear's son 
was Hamnet), or Avice, or Douce, or Warin, or 
Drew, or Fulke, had gone down like sodden logs in 
a stagnant pool. Whether they will ever come into 
use again is very doubtful. Only national caprice 
can do it ; but that, we know, can do anything. 
That Avice, so pretty and simple as it is, should 
have disappeared, I cannot but think a national 

By the time of Charles the First, the national taste 
had gone a degree further. It becomes positively 
amusing to study the registers of this period. It 
had evidently become a point of respectability 
among certain classes of the community to select 
for their children the rarest names of Scripture. 
John, Nicholas, Bartholomew, Thomas, and Peter, 


though Scriptural, were tabooed ; a stain rested on 
them, as having been in the Calendar during centuries 
of popish superstition. In fact, the Apostles were 
turned out for having kept bad company. Many 
seemed to have rested their claim to thorough know- 
ledge of the Bible upon the rarity of the name they 
had discovered in its pages. Thus I find " Ebed- 
meleck Gastrell," whose Christian name only occurs 
once in the Scriptures (Jer. xxxviii. 8). " Epaphro- 
ditus Houghton," " Othniell Haggat," " Apphia Scott," 
" Tryphena Gode," " Bezaliel Peachie," are cases in 
point. If a child were styled by a new, quaint, un- 
heard-of title, as a. matter of course it was assumed 
to be from the Bible. From the appearance of such 
a name as " Michellaliell," I fancy tricks of this kind 
were common. 

A further stage of eccentricity was reached when 
it became fashionable to emphasize the doctrine of 
original sin by affixing to the new-born child a 
Scripture name of ill-repute. The reader can have no 
conception how far this was carried. In the street 
Dinahs and Absaloms walked hand-in-hand to school ; 
Ananiases and Sapphiras grovelled in the dirty courts 
and alleys ; and Cains took Abels to pluck flowers 
in the rural lanes and meadows, without thoughts 
of fratricide. Archbishop Leighton, son of a much 
persecuted Presbyterian minister, had a sister Sap- 
phira. The acme of eccentricity was reached in the 
case of Milcom Groat, whose Christian (!) name was 
" The abomination of the children of Ammon." It 
may be seen in the State Papers (Domestic). I am 
furnishing all these names hap-hazard from my note- 


books. In the dame's school the twelve patriarchs 
could all have answered to their names through their 
little red-cheeked representatives who lined the wall, 
unless, maybe, Simeon or Reuben stood on a separate 
seat with the dunce's cap on ! But the strangest 
freak of all is still to be recorded. We have all 
heard of Praise-God Barebones. Hume, in his His- 
tory of England, asserts that his brother bore the 
long name of " If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou- 
hadst-been-condemned Barebones." What the his- 
torian adds to this I will not repeat, for fear of 
seeming irreverent. Many have supposed this to 
have been a case of mere exceptional eccentricity. 
Nothing of the kind. It was not an uncommon custom 
for a man or woman after conversion to reject with 
horror the pagan name of " Harry " or " Dick," which 
their god-parents had imposed upon them, and be 
known henceforth as " Replenish/' or " Increase," or 
"Abstinence," or "Live-well." Of course, if they 
married after this, they spared their children the 
necessity of any such alteration by furnishing them 
with personal appellations of this character at the 

The earliest specimens of this peculiar spirit will 
be found in the reign of Elizabeth that is, within a 
score of years or so of the Reformation and the gift 
of an open English Bible ; so we must not suppose 
it was wholly an institution of what we may term 
the Cromwellian period. It reached its climax then, 
nothing more. In the Elizabethan " Proceedings in 
Chancery " may be seen such names as Virtue Hunt, 
Temperance Dowlande, Temperance was one of our 


most popular names for a hundred and fifty years, 
Charitie Bowes, and Lamentation Chapman. Lamen- 
tation would easily be affixed to a child whose mother 
had died in childbirth. Ichabod has often been 
given for a like reason. On the contrary, " Comfort " 
would be readily seized upon under circumstances of 
Christian or parental joy. The other day I was in 
Tewkesbury Abbey, now undergoing restoration, and, 
as is my wont, I began ferreting for peculiar names. 
In a churchyard I instinctively walk like a dog 
with my nose to the ground. Almost immediately, 
I came across two " Comforts," " Comfort, wife of 
Abram Farren, died Aug. 24th, 1720," and "Comfort 
Pearce, died Nov. i/th, 1715 ; " the latter was grand- 
daughter of the former. Miss Holt, whose " Mistress 
Margery" and other sound and thoroughly well- 
written stories will have been read by most of my 
readers, told me not long ago that she had seen in 
the register of St. James's, Piccadilly, the following 
entries : " Repentance Tompson," " Loving Bell," 
" Obedience Clark," and " Unity Thornton " ; " Naza- 
reth Rudde," also, was contained in the same record. 
This reminds me of " Jerrico Segrave " in a Derby- 
shire record. In that county it was very possible 
for Bible place-names to be thus incorporated into 
personal nomenclature. Among the ruder peasantry 
it was a common custom, a custom dating from the 
Reformation, to have their child baptized by the 
first name the eye lighted on after the parent had 
let the family Bible fall open upon the table. A 
clergyman not long ago, asking in the Baptismal 
Service " What name ? " received the whispered re- 


joinder, "Ramoth Gilead." Naturally enough, he 
inquired, sotto voce, "A boy or a girl?" A curious 
instance of this general class is to be found in the 
case of Frevven, Archbishop of York, who died in 
1664. He was son of a Puritan minister in Sussex ; 
his Christian name was "Accepted," and his younger 
brother was " Thankfull." It is from this epoch that 
we must date the origin of some of our prettiest, 
if not now most popular, names for girls : " Grace," 
" Faith," "Hope," "Charity," "Truth," and "Prudence." 
All these have survived the era in which they, and 
a hundred longer and less simple terms, were intro- 
duced ; and if they are now getting out of favour, 
it is only one more proof that the fashions in detail, 
as well as the fashions generally, of this world, 
undergo silent, it may be, but inevitable change. 

We must not suppose, however, that there was no 
spirit of antagonism to this remarkable practice, so 
new in origin, and yet so deeply established. I have 
carefully avoided any reference to the disagreements 
that led to the execution of Charles the First, and 
the Commonwealth. If this era was socially vicious, 
it was also religiously hypocritical. Both sides had 
good and bad men in their midst. A poem written 
in 1660, styled a "Psalm of Mercy," is an evident 
" skit " by some Royalist upon the new taste in 
nomenclature. It is too long for quotation, and 
though not actually ribald, is better left in its ob- 
scurity. It pokes fun at the following names : 
Rachel, Abigaile, Faith, Charity, Pru (Prudence), 
Ruth, Temperance, Grace, Bathsheba, Clemence, 
Jude, Pris (Priscilla), Aquila, Mercy, Thank, Dorcas, 


Chloe, Phoebe. It is curious to note, that while none 
of these names could be found in an English register 
prior to 1560, in 1660, when this satirical ballad was 
indited, there was not one which was not more or 
less popular, not one of which I myself have not 
found several instances in contemporary records. 
We have only to add, that after the recital of all 
these names, the poet concludes with a couplet which 
we cannot insert here, but which indicates very clearly 
that the writer was not very much drawn to this new 
phase of feeling. However, if we are to thank the 
Roundheads for the introduction of many really 
pretty names, names, too, awakening sweet Biblical 
and religious associations in our hearts, we must 
not forget that it was owing to the antagonistic spirit 
of the Cavaliers that we are still in possession of not 
a few old names, which, though pagan in origin, are 
rendered dear by their antiquity and their relations 
to English life and character generations ere the 
Reformation was dreamt of. Above all, we must 
never forget, that whether the name be in the Bible 
or out of it, whether it be given at the font or even 
in the registrar's office, it is the man that sanctifies 
the name, not the name the man. It was not their 
names that made Venn, and Simeon, and Wilberforce 
venerated ; but Venn, and Simeon, and Wilberforce, 
by their earnest devotion and stable piety, made 
themselves so revered by Christian Englishmen that 
their names are still uttered with that hushed and 
bated breath that is the deepest demonstration of 
regard that human heart can express. Let us not 
then regret, that if by one band of men the treasury 


house of the Scriptures was ransacked for a new 
vocabulary of nomenclature, to another band we owe 
the preservation from the death they were threatened 
with, of Ralph, Walter, Dick, Harry, Cecilia, Lucy, 
Beatrice, Julia, Robert, Humphry, and Edward. 
Again do you say, " But they are pagan ! " Prythee, 
friend, will you say that because Latimer bore the 
pagan name of Hugh, he died " without hope," as 
a dog dieth ; or that she who permitted his body to 
be burned, because she bore the name of Mary, could 
assert with her nominal prototype that " All genera- 
tions shall call me blessed"? Her name is written 
in blood ; and " Bloody Mary " she will be styled 
from English lips, till the Reformation be branded 
as a mistake, and its heroes as fools. 

I have laid stress, nay, I have dwelt lingeringly, 
on these now quaint and old-mannered names for a 
particular reason. How many of my readers there 
must be who, without realizing the causes, are con- 
scious of the fact that the Christian names of our 
cousins across the Atlantic, and those of ourselves, 
are marked by a certain divergence. When the 
Pilgrim Fathers set forth from Plymouth and Bristol, 
they bore with them their Puritan cognomens ; and 
there, in Virginia and all the east border of the great 
States, they are established nearly as firmly to-day 
as they were in England two hundred years ago. 
Take up an American story, and in the names of its 
heroines you can tell, not only their nationality, but the 
writer's also. "Faith," and " Hope," and " Patience," 
and "Grace" are still their favourite titles. Nor is 
this a mere accident. If we turn to Mr. Hottens' list 


of emigrants between 1600 and 1700, we find such 
names to have been of everyday occurrence. In the 
same family we find such trios as " Love Brewster," 
" Fear Brewster," and " Patience Brewster " quitting 
our shores. We find a brother and sister registered 
as " Hopestill Foster" and " Patience Foster;" while 
such entries as " Perseverance Green," " Desire Min- 
ter," "Revolt Vincent," "Joye Spark," "Remember 
Allerton," and " Remembrance Tibbott " greet one at 
every turn. In such titles as these " Hope-still," 
"Remember," "Remembrance," "Desire," "Patience," 
and " Perseverance " our minds are inevitably thrown 
back to those days of religious persecution, while we 
seem to be bidding these travellers God-speed on 
their distant and uncertain journey from the pierhead 
as the good ship lifts her anchor ; and we can detect 
in the heart of the emigrant that mingled tide of hope 
and fear, trust and regret, confidence in the future 
united with a fond and lingering looking back, which 
still abides unbanished, in spite of occasional tall 
talk, from the American's heart. He is proud of 
his land, but he does not forget the old country. No 
man so proud of making a name for himself as he ; 
and yet no man so proud of tracing his pedigree back 
to a name that has been already made for him gene- 
rations ago on England's soil ! In the twofold title of 
"Hopestill" and "Remembrance" still lives all that 
speaks of reverence in America's past and expectation 
for America's future. 

If it were necessary, we could easily show how 
the same thing has happened to the vocabularies of 
the two countries that has befallen the two nomen- 


clatures. We smile when a Yankee says, " I guess," 
" I calculate," and " I reckon ; " but when we read in 
the Epistle of St. Paul the sentence "/ reckon that 
the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to 
be compared with the glory which shall be revealed 
in us," do we always reflect, as we might do, that our 
translators and revisers of 1611 were simply putting 
into the mouth of the apostle a phrase which was 
then colloquial English, but now survives, in all its 
familiarity, only in the United States, whither the 
Puritan Fathers had carried it ? This comparison we 
might easily extend, but it is not our subject 

As for American baptismal nomenclature in 
general, it is all but entirely Biblical. The only book 
the refugee took with him was his English Bible. 
His piety was fed from its pages, his life was likened 
to its histories, his surroundings had the same cast 
of primeval simplicity ; he discovered a resemblance 
between his own new life and that of the patriarchs, 
and it pleased him to stereotype the resemblance by 
the adoption of their names. From out that Book 
alone he named his offspring, and thus to this day, 
such is the power of tradition, " Brother Jonathan" 
and " Uncle Sam " are but representatives of a class 
of names which well-nigh engrosses every other. A 
single instance will suffice to show how this great 
mass of Biblical nomenclature arose. Charles 
Chauncy died in New England, 1671. He emigrated 
from Hertfordshire, where the family had been settled 
for centuries. His children were Isaac, Ichabod, 
Sarah, Barnabas, Elnathan, Nathaniel, and Israel. 
All these grew up and settled in New England. 


It has been well said, that were it not for our 
English Bible the two languages of the United States 
and England would slowly but surely separate them- 
selves into two distinct dialects, possibly tongues. 
Certainly it is to that book which Wycliffe, whom 
we commemorated in 1877, wrote into English, we 
owe the fact that in no respect is there a closer bond 
and deeper sympathy betwixt England and America 
than in that which concerns the nomenclature of the 
two countries. In what respect they differ I have 
shown. While we have dropped some names that 
marked eccentricity, and restored some of the older 
and more pagan cognomens from the oblivion that 
seemed so certainly to await them, they have clung 
tenaciously to that more quaint and large class ot 
names of Scriptural origin, which their forefathers 
of Puritan stock bore with them across the ocean in 
days when America was as yet a portion of the 
British dominions. 

May the twofold offspring of one stock hold fast 
still, as in days of yore, to that One Name in the 
Bible which is above every name ! Then shall the 
two great branches of the Anglo-Norman race 
continue to multiply and be strong, and all the 
continents of the world shall be blessed through 
their means. 



SET out with the intention of 
writing six chapters on the " London 
', Directory ; " and, lo ! I have reached 
1 the mystic seven. The worst of it 
is, that at the present rate of pro- 
gress I shall have to transgress the 
editorial licence by at least four more before I can 
possibly bring my remarks to a close, consistent 
with the demands of my subject. Nevertheless, the 
Editor has only to say the word, and I will wipe, 
not my tearful eye, but my goose quill, and bid my 
courteous reader adieu ! 

The other day I met a friend, and he greeted me 
with the remark, " Awfully dry." Thinking he referred 
to the weather it was the end of June and feeling 
decidedly warm, I assented cordially, when I dis- 
covered that the statement was intended to be a 
less polite than concise criticism upon one or two of 
my later instalments to The Fireside, on the subject 


that heads these pages. My friend made several other 
remarks founded on the first, and went so far as to 
offer me some advice a very dangerous thing, as 
everybody knows. It was to this effect : " Stick to 
your text." What is my text ? I asked, thinking to 
take him off his guard. "The London Directory," 
he replied promptly. 

Well, I must admit that in the last two papers I 
slightly wandered from my text. My excuse is this : 
baptismal names are in the London Directory as well 
as surnames ; and the baptismal names of to-day are 
as different from the baptismal names of five hundred 
years ago as were the baptismal names of five 
hundred years ago from those in vogue five hundred 
years before that. This curious fact I wished to 
bring out and develop. At the same time I wanted 
to show that it was the English Bible that had caused 
the change. Whether I succeeded in so doing, I 
must leave to the reader to decide. At any rate, I 
can now turn, with such cheerfulness as my stern 
critic has left me, to the next class of English Sur- 
names represented in the London Directory that 
originated by Office, whether ecclesiastical or civil. I 
have got the Directory itself at my left elbow, not 
merely as a monitor to warn me, but also as a 
reference to support me. Looking to this mighty 
tome, then, for inspiration as well as illustration, I at 
once begin. 

The Directory teems with relics of the feudal 
system. There is not a single office belonging to 
that formal and ceremonious age which is not com- 
memorated within its pages. Whether it were service 


within the baronial hall or tenure without, all was 
held by a retinue who thought no office too mean or 
servile for acceptance. The feudatory, in fact, could 
seemingly do nothing ; everything was done for him. 
He could eat and drink, 'tis true, and he did both to 
the great admiration of all beholders ; but he had an 
officer to carve his meat for him ; another to change 
his plate ; a third to crack jokes for him, to aid his 
digestion; a fourth to extend a bowl to wash his 
fingers ; a fifth to hand him a napkin to wipe them ; 
a sixth to hold his wine-cup for him ; and a seventh 
to taste each fresh dish set before him, so that in 
case poison had been put in the food, his taster 
might drop down dead instead of himself. Why 
the baron hadn't an officer to wipe his nose for him, 
I can't say ; it has always been a mystery to me. 
One thing, however, is certain. As he sat and ate 
and drank, he had a little crowd of officers who 
thought it only too high a distinction to perform 
duties so menial, that a scullion in the present day, 
if 'asked to undertake some of them, would probably 
reply, " Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this 
thing?" At any rate, he would give you a month's 
notice, to a certainty. 

That all these officerships existed, the Directory 
still shows; for I have no hesitation in saying that 
the finest and most trustworthy records of the feudal 
age are to be found, not in the British Museum in 
Great Russell Street, nor the Bodleian Library at 
Oxford, but in that great red-backed tome which lies 
on the shelf in every London warehouse. Imagine 
our going to these dry and prosaic emporiums of 


merchandise for an account of a long past state of 
life, which, with all its barbarism, is well-nigh the 
most poetical era of English history. I mentioned 
seven officers who tended the baron at his meals. 
Taking the Directory, I find twelve Carvers, two 
Sewers, eleven Napiers and Nappers, six Ewers, one 
hundred and twenty-five Pages, not to mention our 
various " Cuppages " (i.e. Cup-page), Smallpages, and 
Littlepages, six " Says," and twenty-four " Sayers." 
'Tis true there are no "Fools" in the Directory, 
though there may be plenty out of it ; but once it 
was a very common name indeed, and denoted the 
officer, if I may use the term, whose duty it was to 
convulse the table with laughter by making the most 
ludicrous jokes he could invent, backing them up 
with all sorts of grimaces and contortions. He was 
a professed punster, too, and had free licence to make 
them at the expense even of his lord. Indeed, the 
fool could make a joke with impunity, which would 
have cost any other man his head. Of course he 
wore a fool's-cap as the insignia of his office. The 
Napier, or Napper, set the napkins, once called 
" napes." A curious and silly story has got abroad, 
that the Scotch Napiers got their surname from one 
Donald, whose prowess was so great in a certain 
battle, that the king said he had "na peer," that 
is, no equal. His friends, so the tale goes, from 
henceforth styled him Donald Na-pier. The Scotch 
Napiers are, as Mr. Lower shows, of the house of 
Lennox, and owed their cognomen to the office I 
have described, held by their ancestors in the royal 
household. The Ewer carried the ewer of water in 


front of the Napier ; and as they had no forks in 
those days, and used their left hand in a manner 
which would be now considered the reverse of polite, 
no wonder that between every course the napier and 
ewer would be busy indeed. Even the carver had 
no fork, and had to use his fingers very freely with 
the joints. In the " Boke of Kervynge," an old 
manual of etiquette for young squires, there is a strict 
order to this effect : " Sett never on fyshe, flesche, 
beest, nor fowle, more than two fyngers and a 
thumbe"! The young squire had early to learn this 
accomplishment ; and therefore Chaucer, describing 
his Squire, made a point of saying in his favour, 

" Courteous he was, lowly and servisable, 
And carf before his fader at the table." 

The Sewer brought in the viands; we still use the 
root in such compounds as en-sue and pur-sue. A 
sewe was any cooked dish or course of meat. Hence 
Chaucer, describing the rich feasts of Cambuscan, 
says, time would fail him to tell 

" Of their strange sewes." 

The Queen's household still boasts, I believe, its six 
Gentlemen Sewers. The " Page," of course, was a 
familiar spectacle, for he was here, there, and every- 
where, at the beck and call of his lord. No wonder, 
therefore, he has so many representatives in our 
Directory. It is said that an elderly bachelor, bear- 
ing this name, became deeply attached to a young 
lady. Being bashful by nature, and unacquainted 
with the arts of courtship, he hung about the damsel 


for a long time, seeking vainly for courage and 
opportunity to declare the state of his mind. The 
golden chance came at last. At a party one night 
the fair lady dropped her glove. He rushed to pick 
it up, and presenting it to her, said, 

" If from that glove you take the letter ' G,' 
Then glove is love, and that I give to thee." 

She at once responded, 

" If you from Page should take the letter ' P,' 
Then Page is age, and that won't do for me." 

I believe he was taken ill and went home. 

Knight, like Squire and Bachelor, all relics of 
feudal days, is largely represented in London. A 
would-be reader of the poets, it is said, went into a 
shop and asked to see a copy of " Young Knight's 
Thoughts." He was somewhat astonished to find 
that " Young " was not an adjective, but a surname. 
This reminds one of Southey's story of the lady who, 
seeing a book advertised bearing the title " An Essay 
on Burns," ordered a copy, thinking it treated of 
scalds, and might contain some remedies. Say, 
Sayer, Guster, and Taster the last alone being now 
obsolete all refer to the office mentioned above ; 
the duty of the first bearers of these several names 
being to hazard their own lives for the preservation 
of their masters'. In a word, they stood behind their 
lord's chair, and as every dish of meat or cup of wine 
was brought in, they assayed it (i.e., they took the 
first bite or sup) ; so that if either had been "drugged " 
by some conspirator in the kitchen, the baron might 
escape. It is right to add, to prevent misconception, 


that in some cases our Sayers owe their origin, like 
"Tester," to another ofncership that of examining 
money, to see whether it was full weight and of 
genuine metal. There are four or five " Testers " in 
the Loncjori Directory. 

We may close this list with the. mention of such 
surnames as Spencer or " Spenser " ; Marshall, Cham- 
berlain or Chamberlin, Warder, and Butler. All these 
represented important offtcerships. 

We may here take the opportunity of referring to 
the condition of the lower classes. In the country 
there was no middle class, such as we know by the 
term, excepting those who are represented in the 
Directory under the sobriquet of Yeoman, Yeomans, 
and Yeomanson. The peasantry were oftentimes 
little more than goods and chattels of their masters. 
We must not exaggerate, however, for although there 
are sixty-four " Bonds " in the London Directory, who 
represent such old entries as "William le Bonde," the 
progenitors of this name were in no such abject 
servitude as is now understood by the word. That 
they were hard worked there can be no doubt : 

" Of alle men in londe 
Most toileth the bonde," 

and how much freedom was valued may be guessed 
from the number of Franks, Franklins, Frees, Free- 
bodys, Freemans, Freeds, and Freeborns, in the big 
tome we are discussing. We find even Free-wife and 
Free-woman in the older registers, but they are now 
obsolete in the Directory, I mean, not in actual life, 
for very often the wife not merely " rules her house," 


but her husband too, and a good thing for him if he 
only knew it ! There are fifty-three " Frys " to be 
added to this list, the old form of "free." How 
curious that the lady who so distinguished herself 
in toiling for the abolition of slavery should have 
borne the name of Elizabeth Fry ! Who strove more 
earnestly to make the bond free than she ? Truly 
Tom Hood meant jest for earnest when he wrote his 
ode to Dr. Kitchener : 

" What baron, or squire, or knight of the shire 
Lives half so well as a holy Fry-er ? 
In doing well thou must be reckoned 
The first and Mrs. Fry the second." 

Again he says in jest and rhyme, with a sly hit in 
the last line at her Quaker garments : 

" I like you, Mrs. Fry ! I like your name ! 
It speaks the very warmth you feel in pressing 
In daily act round Charity's great flame 
I like the crisp Browne way you have of dressing." 

If Hood had known the meaning of Mrs. Fry's name, 
he could have made a better play than this upon it. 
The forms in the old rolls are Walter le Frie, or 
Roger le Frye. 

The country police were represented by various 
terms, and as I turn the page of my book of modern 
reference I am reminded of them all. The Hayward 
guarded the fences; the Forester or Forster or 
Foster, the Woodward, the Parker, the Warrener or 
Warner, the Woodreeve, now found as Woodruff or 
Woodroff, all protected the covers wherein the beasts 
of the chase found harbourage. The Finder, or 


Pounder, was engaged in locking up strayed cattle. 
Every village had its pound, and no doubt in a day 
when hedges and dikes and fences were less familiar 
sights than now, his office would be an important one. 
It may be asked, Have we any relic in our Direc- 
tories of any office in the large towns answering to 
our modern policeman, or " peeler," as our street 
gamins so disrespectfully style him ? We answer in 
the affirmative. Our somewhat common surname of 
Catchpoll, Catchpole, Catchpool, and Catchpoole are 
his representatives. They were so called because, 
as they walked their beat, they carried a somewhat 
formidable weapon, very like a pitchfork, the two 
prongs of which slipped round the neck, and formed 
a steel collar. The officer then had the criminal 
entirely at his mercy, and could either drag him, or 
shove him by the pole attached, which was from six 
to seven feet in length. He was called a Catchpoll, 
because he caught his victim by the head or poll. 
We still talk of a poll-tax, or "going to the poll," 
showing how familiar the word was in those days. 
The Malvern Dreamer, in his poem entitled "The 
Vision of Piers Plowman," says of the two thieves 
crucified with our Saviour, that, 

"A cachepol cam forth, 
And cracked both their legges." 

Another form, Catcherell, lingered on for a time in 
our nomenclature, but it is now gone, unless Cattrall 
be but a corruption. An old sermon of the fourteenth 
century speaks of the "devil and his angels" as 
the "devil and his cachereles"! Our "Waites" and 


"Waits" represent the night watchmen. As they 
both sounded the watches and gave the alarm with 
a trumpet or horn, it came to pass that any band 
of night serenaders acquired the name. We are all 
familiar with the Christmas " waits " ! I see there 
are two " Wakemans " in the Directory. The wake- 
man was the North English form of " watchman, 5 ' 
just as kirk is North English for church, or dike for 
ditch, or thack for thatch. Thus, Wycliffe translates 
Mark xii. 37, " Forsooth, that that I say to you, I 
say to all, Wake ye," where our modern translators 
have " Watch." Strangely enough, in Psalm cxxvii. I 
they have employed both forms. "The watchman 
waketh but in vain," should have been either " The 
wakeman waketh but in vain," or "The watchman 
watcheth but in vain." As it stands it is incongruous, 
for it gives the modern reader the idea that the 
watchman had been asleep, implying that he had 
been negligent, which, of course, is not in the original. 
When we remember, as I have shown, that " wake " 
and "watch" were but the same word with two 
pronunciations, one North English and the other 
South English, the difficulty is explained.* A north 

* A curious instance in point will be found in the marginal 
reading of Malachi ii. 12, where "master, and scholar," in the 
text, is marginally translated, " him that waketh, and him that 
answereth." Now, we know the corresponding duties of master 
and scholar. The master asks his question, and then watches 
for the reply. " Him that watcheth, and him that replieth," 
would be understood by all readers. " Him that waketh, and 
him that answereth," will probably seem unmeaning to nineteen 
out of twenty average students. 


countryman, if he wants to say that his neighbour is 
a shrewd fellow, says, " Eh, but he's a wak' un." I 
don't know whether a Lancashireman or a Yorkshire- 
man is the most " wak' ; " but an old saying gives the 
preference to the County Palatine. If a Lancashire- 
man wish to be ahead of a Yorkshireman, it says, he 
must be up at two o'clock in the morning ; but if a 
Yorkshireman wish to be ahead of a Lancashireman, 
he mustn't go to bed at all. We may surmise that a 
Lancashireman originated the saying. Both " Wake" 
and "Sleep" are in the London Directory. Brook, 
in his " History of the Puritans," relates a story 
concerning these two names. It seems, by a curious 
coincidence, that Isaac Wake was University Orator 
at Oxford, in 1607, Dr. Sleep being a well-known 
Cambridge preacher at the same time. James the 
First, who not merely liked his joke, but was fond 
of listening to sermons, both characteristic of a 
Scotchman, used to say, " he always felt inclined to 
Wake when he heard Sleep, and to Sleep when he 
heard Wake " i.e., he could not decide on the relative 
merits of the two. Wake and Sleep will both be 
nicknames the ancestor of the one doubtless being 
a sharp shrewd fellow ; the progenitor of the other, 
I daresay, being thought somewhat dull and stupid 
by his neighbours. 

Speaking about " Sleep " and "Wake " reminds us 
of a name which has been a puzzle to many that of 
" Gotobed." The last time I was in the metropolis, I 
saw it over a door in Great Portland Street. The 
name has acquired additional interest since Mr. 
Trollope introduced it in one of his most able stories, 


" The American Senator." One of our humorous poets 
had already played upon it in the lines, 

" Mr. Barker's as mute as a fish in the sea, 

Mr. Miles never moves on a journey, 
Mr. Gotobed sits up till half after three, 
Mr. Makepeace was bred an attorney." 

It is just possible it is a nickname, for it occurs in 
registers as Gotobedde since the days of Elizabeth. 
Besides, there is a like nickname in the Hundred 
Rolls in the case of " Serl Gotokirk," a sobriquet given 
to the owner on account of his regular and frequent 
attendance at worship. Nevertheless, I believe it to 
be a baptismal surname. I doubt not it is a mere 
corruption of Godbert, once a favourite child's name. 
When I add that I find it five hundred years ago 
entered as " Godeberd," a little later as " Gotebedde," 
and more recently " Gotobedd," I think the question 
may be looked upon as settled. 

But I am falling into a snare. Methinks I hear my 
stern critic saying, "What has Gotobed to do with 
official surnames ? stick, Sir, to your text." Well, 
the connection does certainly seem somewhat vague ; 
but Wakeman was official, and it led me to Wake, and 
from Wake it was not very odd that I should pitch 
upon Sleep, and after all you can never sleep comfort- 
ably unless you go to bed. Still, to soothe my friend, 
I will hark back, and conclude this chapter by a 
reference to a few ecclesiastic surnames. 

Tis true that Henry the Eighth and others de- 
molished our abbeys, monkeries as Latimer styles 
them priories, and other Romish institutions that 
had become objectionable to English morals. But one 


thing they could not do uproot them from our regis- 
ters. In the London Directory, if nomenclature goes 
for anything, they never flourished so vigorously as in 
the reign of Protestant Victoria ! Apart from West- 
minster Abbey, there are at least five Abbeys in other 
quarters of the Metropolis, while no less than seventy- 
three Abbots reside in the same neighbourhood. Nor 
is this all. There are still left in London over fifty 
"Priors," "Pryers," and "Pryors," over twenty "Fryers," 
over thirty ''Monks," and nearly forty "Nunns." Talk 
of the Papal aggression ! Why, Mr. Newdegate should 
call the attention of the House of Commons, and 
through them that of the whole country, to the fact 
immediately. It is awful to contemplate what is 
thus going on under our very noses. It was only the 
other day that a Nunn appeared in a small house out 
of the Strand not more than a day old, if the register 
of births be correct. Talk of boy-bishops, this is 
simply intolerable ! 

It is almost as bad when we turn to names that are 
less Romishly suggestive. How can it be consistent 
with his more orthodox duties, for an Archdeacon to 
be a furniture-broker, a Dean to be a rag and bottle 
merchant, or a Bishop to be a tobacco and snuff 
manufacturer ! If my stern critic doubts my word, I 
can only refer him to the London Directory. There, 
sir, I'm sticking to my text this time, surely ! I know 
a " Priest," too, who keeps a chandler's shop Maryle- 
bone way, and a " Deacon " who employs his leisure 
hours in the delightful occupation of chimney- 
sweeping ; he resides in the vicinity of Edgeware 
Road. Not that I blame them ; for what better can 


you expect from either Priests or Deacons, so long 
as Bishops, Deans, and Archdeacons are guilty of 
such vagaries as I have stated ? 

There was a time, now a long while ago, when 
two personages contended for the honours of the 
Papal chair. There are no less than thirty-six Popes 
in London at this present moment; one is a green- 
grocer, by the way. I have not heard of their quar- 
relling ; and so far, at least, this must be considered 
satisfactory. A good deal of blood was shed over the 
rival claims of the first two. When James the First 
came on a visit to Sir Thomas Pope, near Oxford, 
the Knight's little daughter was introduced to his 
Majesty with these lines, 

" See ! this little mistress here 
Did never sit in Peter's chair, 
Neither a triple crown did wear, 
And yet she is a Pope ! 

" No benefice she ever sold, 
Nor did dispense with sin for gold ; 
She hardly is a fortnight old, 
And yet she is a Pope ! 

" A female Pope, you'll say, ' a second Joan ? ' 
No, sure, she is Pope Innocent, or none." 

An epigram, or a bit of wit, always pleased James 
the First, who was no mean punster himself; and no 
doubt this little entertainment at the entrance of 
the knight's mansion helped materially to make his 
Majesty enjoy the hospitalities lavished upon him 

One name I have never yet seen in the London 
Directory, which occurs in the old parliamentary 


writs that of " Hugh Holy-water-clerk." He dwelt 
at Lincoln, and was doubtless connected with the 
cathedral body. But the old " Paternoster " still exists 
hale and hearty, as anybody may see who will take 
the trouble to inspect the big book of reference which 
gives title to my pages. How many thousands there 
are who daily pass Paternoster Row, and never reflect 
that it derived its name from the fact that several 
tradesmen who strung beads dwelt there. They were 
called "Paternosters," and found ample occupation 
and profit, no doubt, in selling their religious ware to 
the people as they entered the old cathedral to patter 
aves. That they bore this name Mr. Riley has shown 
in his "Memorials of London," wherein not merely 
is "William le Paternoster" mentioned as dwelling 
there, but a Robert Ornel is described as following 
the trade of " paternoster." What a history there is 
conveyed in such a registered name as " Sarah Pater- 
noster, fishmonger, 336, Hackney Road"! For cen- 
turies, as the name has passed on from one generation 
to another, there has been handed down with it 
a memorial of a time which can never return, 
at least, I believe it can never return, a time when 
our more superstitious forefathers and foremothers 
thought they could win the favour of Heaven and the 
grace of God by a glib and unmeaning reiteration of 
a prayer carefully and solemnly framed by Christ Him- 
self to express and comprehend all the needs of the 
human heart. It is neither the length of our prayers 
nor the number of our invocations that will save us. 
It is the peculiarity of the Gospel narrative, that those 
who received benefit at Christ's hands were they who 


uttered very short prayers ; but then they knew what 
were asking for, and from whom they were making 
request. Why, if grace depended on the quantity of 
prayer, then we could reduce the holiness of believers 
to a mere arithmetical ratio, and by the amount of 
their petitions demonstrate to so many fractions how 
much more saintly one Christian was than another. 

But I had better stop, or my reader will think I am 
preaching a sermon. Wouldn't my stern critic come 
down heavily on me then ? And I should not know 
what to say in self-defence ! 



OTHING would be easier than to 
occupy a half-dozen chapters with a 
relation of the mode in which our 
forefathers led their lives. It is one 
peculiarity of nomenclature, that it 
reaches into every nook and crevice 
of English customs. What our ancestors specially 
favoured in the way of meat and drink, is set down 
with the utmost particularity in the London Directory 
of to-day, while, on the other hand, it is by the 
absence of certain names therein that we can form 
a safe judgment of what delicacies they lacked. No 
one would expect to see the potato commemorated 
in the Directory, for the simple reason that it was 
introduced into England after surnames had become 
established on a solid basis. There are no " Tater- 
mans " or " Taterers." But such names as Appletree, 
Appleyard, Plumtree, Pearman, and Peascod, exist. 
Why ? Because apples, pears, plums, and peas, 


have been familiar to Englishmen for a dozen cen- 
turies. " Photographer " is not in the Directory for 
the same reason, but " Limner " is, the old " illu- 
minator.'.' " Cabman " is also conspicuous by its 
absence, but "Carman" and "Wagner" (i.e. Wagoner) 
exist. Had tea, or umbrellas, or broughams, or 
balloons, or carpets, or potatoes, or croquet balls, or 
telegraph wires, or tinned meats, or steam engines, 
or churchwarden pipes, or Indian pickles, been 
introduced about five hundred years ago, every one 
of these would have left its mark on our personal 
nomenclature. Each would have found itself com- 
memorated in our directories as well as our dic- 
tionaries. It is true the railway engine might seem 
to have been referred to in such fourteenth-century 
registrations as Richard le Engineur or William le 
Genour, but these men only wielded the great 
battering-rams, or catapults, or engines for hurling 
stones. Very destructive they were, of course, and 
so important a profession that no wonder there are 
thirteen "Jenners" in the London Directory alone- 
Sir William Jenner can satisfy himself with the 
reflection that if his progenitor was distinguished 
for the number of England's adversaries he placed 
hors de combat, he and his father have been equally 
remarkable for the number of lives they have saved. 
Let us spend a few moments in a consideration of 
this great matter of eating and drinking. And we 
will begin with drinking first. It is curious how 
easily misled we might be by the corruptions that 
have taken place in our nomenclature. The following 
surnames are in the London Directory (1870) : Brandy, 


Sherry, Gin, Port, Beer, Porter, Stout, Claret, Port- 
wine, Tee, and Coffee. Not one of these is what it 
seems to be. Not one of these has anything to do 
with the beverage each severally represents. " Port- 
wine " is a mere modernisation of " Potewyne," which 
in the fourteenth century denoted the Poict tevine 
settler in England. " Claret " was the pet name 
of "Clare." "Stout" is of the nickname class, 
" Porter " occupative, and " Port " is found originally 
as " Charles le Port," or " Oliver le Port," showing 
that it was a sobriquet having reference to the 
portly bearing of the progenitor. Tennyson speaks 


" A modern gentleman 
Of stateliest port." 

It is the same with "Aleman." This has no con- 
nection with the public-house, but like " Almaine " 
and " D'Almaine " represents the old German trader. 
The word was once in most familiar use. Coverdale's 
exposition of the twenty-fifth Psalm has on the 
title page, " Translated out of hye Almayne (High 
Dutch) in to Englyshe, by Myles Coverdale, 1537." 
No one will require me to prove that James Tee 
and Peter Coffee do not represent our modern and 
favoured national breakfast beverages. At least the 
first, if he did, must have sprung from some "heathen 
Chinee," who has immigrated to our shores. Such 
an elucidation, however, would neither satisfy myself, 
my reader, nor James Tee himself, I imagine. 

But we have quite sufficient relics of the drinking 
propensities of the English people in bygone days 
without seeking for them in their corrupted forms. 


" Inman " and " Taverner " both represent the old 
keeper of houses of entertainment. Tavern is going 
out of fashion : Public-house is a modern term. Por- 
son, the great Greek scholar, was unhappily given to 
drink; but drunk or sober he had ever a Greek or 
Latin quotation at the tip of his tongue. Reeling in 
the streets of Cambridge, he one day tumbled down 
a flight of steps into a cellar-tavern. As they picked 
him up, he was heard to mutter, 

" Facilis est descensus t-averni." 

Our Church of England temperance lecturers could 
not take a better text than this clever pun ; for, 
unlike most puns, it contains a most admonitory 
truth. An old tavern-sign in Cheshire, in the last 
century, bore the following inscription : 

" Good bear sold here, our own bruin." 

This in the days of bear-baiting, for which Cheshire 
was famous, would be very misleading to those of 
the country bumpkins who could read. Brewer and 
Brewster need no explanation. Malter and Malster 
both exist, but I do not see them in the London 
Directory. There is Malthouse, however, and that 
is sometimes found as "Malthus" ; just as loft-house, 
and kirk-house, and bake-house or back-house have 
become Loftus, Kirkus, and Bacchus. Viner and 
Vinter also stand in no fear of being misunderstood ; 
but Tunman, Tonman, Tunner, and Tonner, who 
casked and bottled the wine that came from the 
Continent, would be less likely to be recognised. In 
the " Confessio Amantis " it is said of Jupiter that he 


" Hath in his cellar, as men say, 
Two townes full of love-drink," 

a'here we must not suppose that the Thunderer had 
so capacious a cellar that it would contain all the 
liquor that two whole towns might possess, but that 
he had two tuns or barrels of love potions. In fact, 
"tun" was the universal term in use then, though 
barrel or cask has superseded it in common parlance. 
We still talk of " tunnels " or " tun-dishes," the vessels 
used for transferring wine from barrel to bottle. 
" Beer-brewer " was once a familiar surname, but it 
has become obsolete. We all remember the old 

" Hops, Reformation, baize, and beer, 
Came into England all in one year." 

To make the bitter taste, wormwood had been the 
chief ingredient in earlier days. 

While on this subject, it is worth while inquiring 
whether or no we possess in our directories any 
record of the drinking propensities of our forefathers. 
That they were ever great " skinkers " everybody 
knows who has studied the past with any degree of 
care. What the Water-poet said somewhat coarsely 
of one may well be said of the many : 

" Untill hee falls asleepe, 

He skinks and drinkes ; 
And then like to a bore, 
He winkes and stinkes." 

Even the " Friar," according to Chaucer, 

"strong was as a champioun, 
And knew wel the tavernes in every toun, 


And every hosteler and gay tapstere, 
Better than a lazar or a beggere." 

In spite of these acknowledged facts, however, I am 
happy to say there is not a single " Drunkard " in the 
London Directory. Nevertheless, in our older regis- 
ters the tale is not so assuring. There has been a 
tendency during the last two hundred years to shuffle 
off certain objectionable names, which our earlier 
forefathers did not seem to be ashamed of. Who of 
my readers would like to have been officially regis- 
tered as "Maurice Druncard," or "Jakes Drynk-ale," 
or worse still, " Geoffrey Dringke-dregges " ? Who of 
my readers would like to sign himself in a marriage 
record as "Robert le Sot," or as "Thomas Sour-ale"? 
Even "John Swete-ale" would scarcely have relished 
the sobriquet if he had lived in this more punctilious 
age of ours. Where could the young lady be found 
who would forego the charms of spinsterhood to be 
wedded to an "Arnold Scutel-mouth" (what a 
capacious mouth it must have been !) " Alice Gude- 
ale-house " may have been a thoroughly honest and 
respectable landlady, but I don't think she would 
have said " no," if some smart and worthy younker 
had offered her the refusal of his name. 

Every one of these entries I have myself copied 
from authentic registers. Curious, and yet not 
curious, is it that not one of them has survived. 
So far as the Directory shows, we are the soberest 
and most temperate nation on the face of the earth. 
Thus do we throw a mantle over our great national 
vice. Even when we cannot get rid of the fact, we 
manage to smooth it over with a sesquipedalian gloss. 


A woman in the middle and higher ranks never gets 
drunk now-a-days. She is a suffering martyr to 
dipsomania ! How thankful we should be for a Bible 
that says " Be not drunk." 

Who was the first English teetotaler ? If we 
could find him, I suspect our temperance friends 
would erect a monument to him. There are seven 
" Drinkwaters " in the Metropolitan register ; and I 
am glad to say that Camden's statement is wrong 
it was only a guess that Drinkwater is a corruption 
of " Derwentwater." In the first place it is an im- 
possible corruption ; for the corruptive changes that 
pass over words and names are not accidental, but 
follow fixed rules, so to say. In the second place, I 
have been able to discover the name in its present 
guise up to the very time when hereditary surnames 
were established. "John Drinkwater" occurs in the 
Hundred Rolls, and "Richard Drynkwatere" in the 
Parliamentary Writs.* No wonder their posterity 
has survived, no wonder their name endures, for they 
can boast that in their sobriquet lies the record of 
the first English temperance movement. In a word, 
Mr. Drinkwater number one must have been the 
forerunner of total abstinence. None of his neigh- 
bours could have pointed to him as a man who 
habitually, or occasionally upon days of festival, "got 
tight " ; his name, whereby they had nicknamed him, 
was in itself a safeguard. His very title pledged 
him to the principles it professed. No, he never 
"got tight," or if he did, like a good sailing craft, 

* In this last record there is also a " Thomas le Sober.' 3 


he was watertight. Some day I hope there will be 
a monument erected to " Drinkwater Number One." 
It might be in the shape of a drinking fountain. 
What a heap of people there are buried in state in 
Westminster Abbey who ought to give place to 
" Drinkwater Number One " ! But, alas ! we don't 
all get our deserts. 

But enough of this. We have reminiscences in 
our directories of meat as well as drink. Chaucer, 
speaking of the " Franklein," says, 

" Withoute bake mete never was his house, 
Of fish, and flesh, and that so plenteous, 
It snowed in his hous of mete and drink, 
Of alle deinties that men coud thinke. 
* * * * * 

Wo was his cook, but if his sauce were 
Poignant and sharpe, and redy all his gear." 

This short and piquant description is important 
because of the language used. We still use the word 
flesh in the alliterative phrase, "fish, flesh, and fowl ;" 
but we should never ask for a " pound of flesh " in a 
butcher's shop now, any more than we should talk 
of the importation of " American flesh." We should 
say " meat." The distinction, however, is preserved 
in this account, and we are reminded that before 
the Norman " Butcher " or " Boucher," and French 
" Labouchere " came in, the seller of flesh-meat was 
called a " Fleshmonger " or " Flesher." So late as 
1528, William Fleshmonger, D.C.L., was Dean of 
Chichester. I fear the name is now obsolete. Our 
" Fleshers " still exist, but most of them have become 
absorbed in " Fletcher," which represented the trade 


of feathering arrows : we still employ the word 
" fledge." The Bowyers and Fletchers and Arrow- 
smiths always marched abreast in the old trades' 
processions of London, or York, or Norwich. Hark- 
ing back to Fletcher, however, I may add, that in 
Scotland a butcher is still a flesher. 

So far for the butcher. But the old rhyme speaks 


" The butcher, the baker, 
The candlestick-maker." 

We next turn, therefore, to the bread and biscuit 
department. We have all heard how that foolish and 

" Miss Baxter, 
Refused a man before he axed her," 

but few of us, possibly, are aware that "Baker" and 
" Baxter " and " Bagster," all represent the same 
occupation, and that Baxter is only the old "bakester," 
the feminine of Baker, just as Webster is the feminine 
of Webber, or Brewster of Brewer, or Blaxter (i.e. 
" Bleachster ") of Bleacher, or Tapster of Tapper.* 

* I must not let this statement pass without saying that the 
termination "ster" is not admitted to be feminine by all philo- 
logists ; in fact, it is the subject of much contention. It will be 
quite sufficient for my purpose simply to draw attention to the 
existence of this twofold desinence in " er " and " ster," because 
it occurs more frequently in the directory than the dictionary. 
I have had the opportunity of proving this in " English Sur- 
names " (2nd edition, p. 380 and elsewhere), so I will only add 
that very often where the dictionary has dropped one form the 
directory has preserved it, and vice versa. For instance, there 
are five Treachers and two Trickers in the London Directory. 


Langland, in his poem entitled " The Vision of Piers 
Plowman," speaks of 

" Baksteres and brewesteres, 
And bochiers manye." 

It will not be irreverent to note the coincidence, that 
no firm in England have more closely associated 
their name with the printing of the Bible, "The 
Bread of Life," than the Bagsters. It reminds us 
of that which was no accidental coincidence at all 
namely, that Christ Himself, "that true Bread which 
came down from Heaven/' appeared first at Beth- 

We do not now speak of a tricker but a " trickster." Of course 
the meaning of a " treacher " or " tricker" has become forgotten 
or confused, otherwise our friends bearing that name would long 
ago have shuffled it off. Webster still has the word, but he adds 
that it is an obsoletism. We only talk of a beggar now, but 
" Joan Beggister" occurs in an old roll. It is curious to note 
how the weaving and dyeing of cloth have left the double forms. 
We only speak of a dyer now, but " Dyer " and "Dyster" figure 
in the London Directory. On the other hand, the dictionary 
has both "whiter" and " whitster," and "thrower" and 
"throwster," the directory only "Whiter" and "Thrower." 
Again, the directory alone contains " Hlaxter " (bleachster), the 
dictionary alone bleacher. A litter of cloth (i.e. dyer), or a 
kemper of wool seems never to have existed, for only " Lister " 
is a surname once written " Litster " and " Kempster." I 
have already mentioned Webber and Webster. We should 
think it odd to hear people talk of a " bellringster? or a "bread- 
mongster" or a " washster" but so they did some generations 
ago. " Spinner " has never been a surname, nor " spinster," 
but the latter had no chance on account of the secondary sense 
that so quickly attached to it. I cannot end this note without 
once more drawing the attention of philologists to the advan- 
tages of using the directory as a complement to the dictionary. 


lehem, which literally means "house of bread," i.e. 
" bread-shop/' or " bake-house." " Bacchus," as already 
noted, is a corruption of " bake-house," while our 
Bullingers, Ballingers, Bollengers, and Furners, and 
" Pesters," represent the Norman-French bakers. 
Our " Cokes " and " Cooks " represent the old public 
pie-shop, as well as the private cuisine, and this 
explains the large number of the fraternity immor- 
talised in our directories. An old poem speaks of 

" Drovers, cokes, and poulters, 
Yermongers, pybakers, and waferers." 

There has ever been a great race in this matter 
between our " Bakers " and " Cooks " or " Cookes." 
Nearly thirty years ago Mr. Lowe, in his Tables 
of Births, Deaths, and Marriages, gave the following 
analysis for one year in England and Wales : 

Births. Deaths. Marriages. 

Baker . . 1033 839 513 

Cook . . 910 742 483 

In the London Directory for 1871, there appeared 
277 Bakers, 56 Baxters, and 2 Bagsters, as against 
194 Cooks, 89 Cookes, I Coke, 2 Cookmans, and 9 
Cooksons. This preserves the same proportion, 

In the couplet quoted above occurs the trade name 
of " Waferer." This may possibly sound an obso- 
letism to the reader. But if as a distinct occupation 
the making of bread wafers is gone, or has fallen into 
the hands of Messrs. Peek, Frean & Co., and other 
of our biscuit manufacturers, it has left many memo- 
rials behind. Our "Wafers" have fossilised its story 


in the Directory, and even in our Authorized Version 
of the Bible (Lev. ii. 4). I have known one or two 
sturdy Protestants who have objected to the trans- 
lation : " And if thou bring an oblation of a meat 
offering baken in the oven, it shall be unleavened 
cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, or unleavened 
wafers anointed with oil." There can be no doubt 
this is one more relic of Papal days in England. I 
have seen an old will of the thirteenth century, in 
which the then Archbishop of York made a small 
bequest to two " waferers," who for many years had 
honestly plied their trade of selling wafers at the 
Minster gate. Not that the " waferer " confined 
himself to these. The author of Piers Plowman, not 
to mention Chaucer himself, puts him among certain 
disreputable street hawkers, who sold small spiced 
cakes ; but then we must remember that the " Malvern 
Dreamer" wrote his poem against the lewdness of 
the priesthood in fact, he was a trumpeter of the 
Reformation to come and he would not object to 
set down the humblest servitor of the papal establish- 
ment, even a waferer, in as low a scale as he could. 
It is this that to - my mind makes the history of 
English surnames so interesting. If we visit Pompeii 
we see in the streets and chambers that have been 
cleared of debris the very accidents of life and thought 
well-nigh 2000 years ago. We have but to clear 
away the little corruptions of spelling or pronuncia- 
tion which have befallen these old-fashioned names, 
and spell-bound we are gazing into the life the 
every-day religious and social life of our English 
forefathers four hundred years ago. The antiquary 


and the philologist alike may take up the London 
Directory with reverence, for therein lies a fund of 
information to his hand, which it might occupy 
months of pain and trouble otherwise to accumulate. 

Having dealt with " the butcher " and " the baker," 
there is yet the " candlestick-maker " to be considered. 
Our " Chandlers " and " Candlers " explain themselves. 
Our "Turners" turned out all manner of wooden 
gear, and doubtless candlesticks were amongst them. 
There are plenty of " Bowlers " in the Directory, men 
who made bowls or dishes of wood. The twenty- 
four "Spooners"* set down in the same record, 
fashioned spoons. Forks being a modern invention, 
there are no " Forkers " ; but " Cutler " abounds on 
every side in the metropolis, not to mention the 
" Cutlers' Alms-houses," and the " Cutlers' Hall." 
" Ironmonger " also is well represented. Those who 
manufactured crocks that is, any glazed vessel of 
earthenware (whence our modern term "crockery") 
were called " Crockers," or " Crokers." There are 
over thirty Crockers in the Directory, and six Crokers. 
A hundred " Potters " figure in the same list. 

Some reader may inquire, " Have we any relics of 

We can readily understand why " Spooner " should be so 
common a name, when we reflect that not only were there no 
forks in use, but our forefathers were particularly fond of sauces 
and thick soups. The spoon was much more used than the 
knife at dinner. Our " Pottingers " are relics of the old potager, 
or pottinger, who made pottage that is, soup well thickened 
with vegetables. Porridge is but a corruption of pottage. In 
all this the spoon played an important part. I see four Pot- 
tingers in the Directory. 


the medical practitioner in the Directory ? Was there 
any one who was professionally employed to see 
children through the measles, to extract an obnoxious 
tooth, to lay a plaister, to open a vein, to mix a 
potion, or to generally repair a debilitated system ? " 
The London Directory replies unhesitatingly in the 
affirmative ; and yet look out Doctor, or Surgeon, or 
Physician, and all are conspicuous by their absence : 
although, to do the last justice, he has bequeathed 
us four Physicks. The reason of this is simple. 
These are new terms. The old practitioner went 
generally by the name of " Leech." There are forty- 
seven Leaches, one Leachman, and eleven Leeches 
in the Directory. Bleeding with leeches was evi- 
dently no unfamiliar spectacle in old days, especially 
when we recall that our forefathers were wont to be 
very energetic with the knife and fork or spoon, I 
should say, for they had no forks. " Chemist," too, 
is a new sobriquet, therefore he is unrepresented ; 
but there is one " Pothecary," and Potticary is 
fairly common in other parts of England. As for 
the Barber, the surgeon and dentist of former 
times, no wonder there is a whole column of his 
descendants. His custom was to hang a basin at 
the end of his pole, with a string of teeth, the longer 
the better, to show what a roaring trade he drove, 
for he could not advertise his business in the news- 
paper as people do in these remarkable days. In 
the window were ranged cups or goblets with a few 
leeches in. These 

" Did well his threefold trade explain, 
Who shaved, drew teeth, and breathed a vein." 


In the latter decades of last century there was a 
celebrated surgeon in Manchester of the name of 
" Killer," which is a corruption of " Kilner," just as 
Miller and Milner are identical. But if this was an 
unfortunate name for a surgeon, what shall we say 
of " Kilmister" and " Kilmaster," which may be found 
in and about the county of Gloucester ! How blood- 
thirsty they look ! and yet the truer form Kilminster, 
in the London Directory, strips them, by the addition 
of but. one letter, of their terrors, and shows them 
to be of local origin. In one of the earliest metro- 
politan directories appears a Mr. Toothaker ! It was 
not an uncommon name, for in 1635 there embarked 
in the Hopewell for New England, Roger Toothaker 
and Margaret Toothaker ! I do not think the name 
to be of German origin, as Mr. Lower supposes, but 
but one of those local English surnames ending in 
"acre," like Whittaker or Oldacre. The sobriquet, 
however, reads oddly enough, and looks as if the 
services of the barber were much required. 

Turning to dress for a moment, we may notice 
that there are nearly 300 Walkers in the London 
Directory, almost 100 Tuckers, 80 Fullers, and 20 
Tozers. All were concerned once with the combing, 
fulling, dyeing, and thickening of woollen goods. In 
Piers Plowman mention is made of " fulling under 
foot." This refers to the practice of treading the 
cloth, before machinery was introduced. He who 
did this was a walker. Wycliffe, speaking of 
Christ's transfiguration, describes Christ's dress as 
shining, so as " no fullers or walkers of cloth " could 
whiten them. The " tozer " or " toser," or " touser," 


toused or teased the fabric, so as to raise a nap on 
it. We talk of teasing now in the sense of worrying 
people with attentions. This is the secondary mean- 
ing that has grown upon the other. "Tozer"and 
" Toser " are the favourite spellings of this occupation 
in the Directory. We are still fond of calling a 
pugnacious dog " Towser." Tucker was a Flemish 
introduced term for a "dyer." Many of the words 
connected with the manufacture of cloth came in 
with the Flemish artisans. 

I will only mention one article of dress, and con- 
clude. There is no " Cobler," or " Cobbler," in the 
Directory, but there used to be. As a mere patch- 
work business it has got into disrepute ; so it has been 
got rid of by its owners. Christopher Shoomaker 
was burnt at Newbury during the days of persecution, 
and Foxe tells his story in his customary quaint 
fashion ; but it has ever been a rare name in England, 
though common enough in Germany as Schumacher, 
or Schumann. The last form will be familiar to all 
musicians. Camden, in a list of occupations, inserts 
" Chaucer," appending by way of definition, " id est, 
Hosier." The chaucer or hosier of those days fitted 
to the leg from the knee downwards the strong leather 
legging. This was called a chaussure. Chaucer is 
obsolete in England, though not in France. Hosier 
and Hozier still exist. Every Londoner knows of 
the " Cordwainers' Hall," though perhaps he has 
never seen it. It is not more than forty years ago 
that you might not uncommonly see " cordwainer " 
over a shop door instead of the strictly modern 
" shoemaker" ; while in our directories " Cordwainer, ' 



or " Cordiner," or " Codner," is a customary name. 
Sir Thopas is described thus : 

" His hair, his beard was like safroun, 
That to his girdle raught (reached) adown, 
His shoon of cordewane." 

We have only to turn cordwain into cordovan, to 
see that this was a specially excellent leather, 
imported in early times from Cordova, in Spain, to 
make " kid-boots." In fact, the cordwainer was the 
West-end boot-maker. But this is not all. In the 
Directory for 1871 there appear twelve Suters, three 
Sowters, six Soutters, seven Souters, one Soutar, and 
three Soustars. I need not tell any Scotchman what 
this means, because every shoemaker or cobbler on 
the other side of the Tweed, except in very fashion- 
able quarters, is still a " souter." Souster is but one 
more instance of the feminine (?) termination. 

I might prolong this chapter to any extent, but I 
must refrain. I might have called attention to our 
many " Glovers " and " Ganters," who sold gloves, or 
our Gantletts and Gauntletts, who were in the same 
business, but were known best by the gauntlet that 
hung as a sign over the door. I might have pointed 
to our Girdlers and Bracegirdles, who were busy 
enough when the modern suspender was unknown; or 
to our many Pointers, who manufactured the points 
or tags by which hose and doublet were protected 
from divorcement. I might have asked the reader to 
survey with me the rows of Cheesemans, Cheesmans, 
Cheesewrights, Cheeswrights, and Firmingers, remi- 
niscences of the good old farmers' produce, which was 
the first, second and third course of every peasant's 


dinner. I might have shown that our Challeners and 
Challoners manufactured or sold blankets, made at 
first in Chalons ; or that our Helliers, or Hilliers, or 
Hillyers, were thatchers or tylers ; that our Shoo- 
smiths forged shoes for horses ; that our Wrights 
worked chiefly in wood, our Smiths in iron. I might 
have run through a list of rural occupations, such as 
Coward for cow-herd, Calvert for calve-herd, Shep- 
herd for sheep-herd, or " Herd " or " Heard " or " Hurd " 
itself for the tender of cattle in general. From all 
temptations of this kind I must stay myself. I will 
only say that if my reader should be interested 
enough to wish to carry on such investigation, he can 
do so in my book of "English Surnames," which I 
think I can truly say is quite exhaustive of those 
now forgotten and obsolete titles of mediaeval occu- 
pation. I have mentioned Wright : let me quote a 
rhyming pun on his good old title : 

"At a tavern one night, 
Messrs. More, Strange, and Wright, 

Met to drink, and their good thoughts exchange ; 
Says More, ' Of us three, 
The whole will agree, 

There's only one Knave, and that's Strange.' 

" 'Yes, 5 says Strange, rather sore, 

' I'm sure there's one More, 
A most terrible knave, and a fright, 

Who cheated his mother, 

His sister, and brother.' 
1 Oh, yes/ replied More, 'that is Wright.'" 

On the whole, Mr. More got the best of the argument. 



E have now reached the last class 
of surnames that which we have 
called Nicknames. We have dealt 
with local names, baptismal names, 
official names, and occupative names. 
With Nicknames we conclude our 
list. John At-wood, John Thomson, John Chamber- 
lain, and John Baker, would respectively represent 
the classes already discussed. John Fox might as 
fitly act as the representative of our nicknames. 

If Nickname be but prosthetically put for an 
ekename that is, an added name, a name appended 
to the Christian name to eke out or complete a man's 
identity then all surnames are nicknames and all 
nicknames are surnames. It is better, therefore, that 
I should state at the outset what I mean by a chapter 
on Nicknames. 

I intend to take in only such sobriquets as were 
affixed upon individuals by their neighbours to ex- 


press some physical or mental peculiarity, compli- 
mentary or the reverse, whether given in jest or 

This is a very nondescript class, and is therefore 
much better illustrated than explained. If a man 
developed some grotesque or pitiful characteristic, 
either in his bodily shape or his mental attributes, it 
was just as easy to nickname him by the English 
term that most plainly described it, or to style him 
by some name of the lower creation that was sup- 
posed to represent that particular characteristic. 
Thus if Thomas were of crafty disposition, it would 
be as easy to nickname him Thomas Sly as Thomas 
Fox. Thus both Sly and Fox are nicknames. There 
is scarcely a moral attribute that is not found in our 
directories. In the same receptacle almost every 
name of every living creature in earth, sea, and air, 
is to be seen. Indeed, with respect to this latter 
class, we find in later days a reversal of the statement 
met with in Genesis ii. 19. There it is said, "And 
out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast 
of the field, and every fowl of the air ; and brought 
them unto Adam to see what he would call them : 
and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, 
that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names 
to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every 
beast of the field." I say this statement was reversed 
four or five hundred years ago by our English fore- 
fathers. They gave the cattle, the fish, and the birds, 
men's names, and gave to men the names of the 
cattle, the fish, and the birds. There is not a single 
domestic animal which was not familiarly known to 


our ancestors by a nickname taken from our baptismal 
nomenclature, while, on the other hand, there is not 
a single domestic animal whose proper name was not 
affixed as a nickname upon some member of the 
rational community. ^ 

I will give an illustration or two of what I mean. 
They shall be taken from the London Directory. 
Spenser says, 

" The ruddock warbles soft." 

Many of my readers will not know what a ruddock is. 
It was the old proper name for the robin-redbreast. 
Chaucer has the name in " The Assembly of Fowls." 
But our forefathers nicknamed this homely bird 
robin. Every family then had a "Robin" in the 
household. Out of fondness for the bird that did not 
desert them when the winter snow enveloped the 
trees with a white mantle, but came hopping to the 
doorstep for a crumb, they styled it by the familiar 
term of robin. This nickname became so popular 
that it all but pushed out the more orthodox term 
of ruddock. But there are three Ruddicks and five 
Ruddocks in the London Directory ! What does this 
show ? Why, that as the man's name of Robin was 
given to the bird, so the bird's name of ruddock was 
given to the man. We find a Ralph Ruddoc regis- 
tered so early as the Hundred Rolls. No doubt he 
got the nickname from some peculiar redness of the 
chin or throat, or because of some peculiarity in his 
habits or demeanour, which struck his neighbours 
with a fancied similarity to the bird. A sparrow was 
always called " Phip," from Philip. On the other 


hand, I find no less than twenty Sparrows in the 
London Directory. Thus a pye became a Mag-pie, 
from Margaret, and we, still chant in nursery song, 

" See-saw, 
Margery Daw." 

Having given them Margaret, they have presented us 
with many of our Daws, all our Pyes, and the one 
Pie of the London Directory. How odd that while, 
as I have shown, there are so many hundred Cooks 
in the metropolis, they can only turn out one Pie ! 
There is a large assortment of Cockerells, Cockrells, 
and Cockrills in the Directory. Young cocks still go 
by this name in Cumberland. Driving in my dog- 
cart to visit a sick woman on the hill-side the other 
day, I went by a barn-door on which I saw a placard 
advertising the sale of fine healthy " cockerels." But 
I may not linger. We may see in this same metro- 
politan record Swans, Finches, Herons, Cootes, 
Ducks, Drakes, Woodcocks, Partridges, Goslings, and 
Gosses, by the dozen. Gosling is often but a cor- 
ruption of Joscelyn, and so is not of the nickname 
class. Goss is but the old spelling of "goose." In 
our older records we find it registered as Peter le 
Goos, Amicia le Gos, or John le Gos. All our 
Pinnicks and Pinnocks are from the old pinnock or 
pinnick, the hedge-sparrow : 

" Thus in the pinnick's nest the cuckoo lays, 
Then, easy as a Frenchman, takes her flight." 

There are eleven Wrens hopping about our London 
streets, and I daresay they often stand not on one 
leg, of course to stare at St. Paul's Cathedral, and 


to think with pride on Christopher Wren, and his 
epitaph, " Si monumentum quseris, circumspice." 
There are fifteen Nightingales, too, but whether or 
no they can all sing sweetly I cannot say. One of 
the happiest anagrams ever written was that upon 
" Florence Nightingale," which by a transposition of 
letters makes, "Flit on, cheering angel." It is as 
good as " Horatio Nelson," which can be turned into 
" Honor est a Nilo." 

Many of these nicknames we see for ourselves could 
not have been intended to be very complimentary. 
A single quotation will prove this. We know that 
every great personage up to the middle of the six- 
teenth century had his or her professional fool, or 
joker. The "privy expenses" of Elizabeth of Yorke 
for March, 1 502, have this entry : " Item : delivered 
to John Goose, my Lord of Yorke's fole (fool), in 
rewarde for bringing a carppe (carp) to the Quene, 
12^." Here is a palpable nickname for the office, 
the term itself being taken from that bird which was 
popularly supposed to reign supreme over simpleton- 
dom. "You goose" is still commonly applied to 
a child that has done something silly. That our 
"Gosses" should retain a forgotten and obsolete 
spelling is very natural. There are three Patches in 
the Directory. I crave their pardon for reminding 
them that their progenitor held the honourable office 
of " fool " to some English king or baron. We are 
all familiar with 

" The king of shreds and patches." 
It was through this peculiarity in his dress the official 


fool got the sobriquet of ** Patch." Henry the Eighth's 
fool bore this name : " Item : paied to the same Pyne 
for 2 payr of hosen for Patche xj.," says an old 
book of " Privy Purse Expenses " belonging to that 

Speaking of birds, we may mention the name of 
Spark, or Sparke. Few of my readers probably are 
aware that this is but a corruption of Sparrovvhawk. 
Sparhawk was the intermediate form, and was once 
very common. It was a Mr. Sparrowhawk to whom 
the great Thomas Fuller jocularly put the question, 
"What is the difference between an owl and a 
sparrow hawk?" His companion at once retorted 
with the reply, "An owl is fuller in the head, fuller 
in the face, and Fuller all over!" This was but 
repaying the historian in his own coin, for no one 
has made so many puns and plays on names and 
words as Fuller. He carried it to an extent which 
in our day would be considered profane. Many will 
recall his prayer in rhyme 

" My soul is stained with a dusty colour, 
Let Thy Son be the sope, I'll be the Fuller." 

Again, in a spirit of devout meekness, he writes, 
" As for other stains and spots upon my soul, I hope 
that He (be it spoken without the least verbal 
reflection) who is the Fuller's sope, will scour them 
forth with His merit, that I may appear clean by 
God's mercy." It was but natural, that when this 
great religious punster died, a suggestion should have 
been made that his epitaph should run thus : " Here 


lies Fuller's earth." * This was not done, and just as 
well it was not ; for if puns are ever objectionable, it 
is when they appear in epitaphs. Nevertheless, one 
of the finest instances of paranomasia on record is 
to be found on the tablet to Foote's memory in 
Westminster Abbey : 

" Here lies one Foote, whose death may thousands save ; 
For now Death hath one Foote within the grave." 

A similar interchange of nominal courtesies is 
observable in the names of cattle and wild beasts. 
Pigg, Hogg, Stott, Colt, Bullock, Duncalf, Wolf, 
Lamb, Kidd, Bacon, Grice, and Wildbore all speak 
for themselves ; while in our North English Oliphants 
and Olivants we recognize the old spelling of 
"elephant." No doubt the original bearer of the 
nickname was of unusually large proportions even 
for the border country of England and Scotland. 
Speaking of Lamb, we are reminded that a brother- 
in-law of John Wesley bore the name of Whitelamb, 
and therefore could scarcely be called, under any 
circumstances, a black sheep ! There are six Bears 
and eighty Bulls in the Directory. The Gentleman's 
Magazine for 1 807 records the death of " Savage 
Bear, Esquire," who was a resident in Kent. In 
the same article mention is made of a Mr. Mould, 
cheesemonger, in Newgate Street. But we have 
Bearmans, Bullards (that is, Bullwards), Bulmans, and 

* The same kind of wit was exercised on Camden and his 
book called " Remains," and Walker, of Dictionary reputation. 
It was suggested that the epitaph of the one should be " Camden's 
Remains," and of the other " Walker's Particles." 


Bullpitts in our Directory, too. It was not till 1835 
bear-baiting and bull-baiting were forbidden by Act 
of Parliament. It had reigned at the head of English 
pastimes for six centuries. Hence it was a common 
inn-sign. The oldest hostel in London was supposed 
to be the "Bear," on the Southwark side of old 
London Bridge. Hence an old poem says, 

" We came to the Bear, which we soon understood 
Was the first house in Southwark built after the flood." 

Every rich man had his bearward, and the royal 
houses had their " master of the king's bears." Both 
Mary and Elizabeth enjoyed a good baiting, whether 
of bulls or bears. The Puritans of course were against 
it, and so far were in advance of the times, but it 
is a peculiar feature of their opposition that they 
scarcely ever refer to the cruelty of the sport. Ortho- 
dox and somewhat dull Pepys describes in 1666 how 
he saw some good sports of the bulls tossing the dogs 
one into the very boxes. A leading Puritan minister 
not twenty years later is always found, by his own 
published diary, to have sent his children to the 
cock-pit on Shrove-Tuesday to witness the " throwing- 
at-the-cock," and he piously prays they may be 
preserved from harm while away (" Newcome's 
Diary," Cheetham Society's Publications). Thus it is 
we find so many " Cockers " and " Cockmans " in the 
Directory. As for our " Cocks " or " Coxes," every 
young gallant who showed determined pluck, or 
strutted in his gait, or gave himself airs, was nick- 
named from the cockpit or barn-door dictionary. 
No wonder our Directory teems with them, for it 


would be looked upon in bygone days as a pretty 
compliment. This is the origin of "cock" in such 
mediaeval pet names as Wilcock, Jeffcock, Batcock 
and Badcock (Bartholomew), Simcock, Hancock and 
Handcock (Hans, Le. Johannes), Bawcock (Baldwin), 
Pidcock and Peacock (Peter), Philcock, now Philcox, 
and Adcock or Atcock (Adam). To give my readers 
a list of the views propounded as to the meaning of 
this desinence would take too much space. Suffice 
it to say that nothing has seemed too absurd for those 
who love "guesses at truth," without ever guessing 
right, to advance. Every rustic lusty lad was " Cock," 
especially if he had a perky cocky way of his own. 
And in these names of Philcock or Jeffcock, we 
simply see the old-fashioned way of hailing Philip 
or Jeffery as, "Well, Jeff-cock, lad, how art thou?" 
" Pretty well, Phil-cock, thank'ee." In the old play, 
Gammer Gurton's Needle, Gammer's servant lad is 
called simply " Cock," without the baptismal name 
being appended at all. It is so in the mediaeval 
poem entitled " Cocke Lorell's Bote." 

But we have got among the birds again. We must 
hark back to our four-footed friends. There are 
no "Donkeys" in the London Directory probably 
the only place in the world where they are not to be 
found. But this may be accounted for, perhaps, 
because there are no Thistles there either. Never- 
theless, had there been an English Directory in the 
year when Domesday Book was compiled, it would 
have been otherwise; for, thistles or no thistles, 
" Roger the Ass " is among the list of tenants under 
the crown. Here we have been liberal : for we have 


presented our good thistle-loving friend with no less 
than three of our baptismal names. In the north of 
England, where Cuthbert was the favourite appella- 
tion for three centuries at least, he is called a Cuddy, 
that being the pet form of the saintly sobriquet* 
In more southern regions he is known as Ned or 
Neddy, from Edward. And north and south alike, 
y#<r/-ass is familiar to all. It is curious to notice 
how a name that has become opprobrious can be 
dropped. " Rascal " was one of our commonest 
surnames while the term only meant a lean, ragged 
deer; but when it was passed on to a herd of worth- 
less folk the surname disappeared. One of the latest 
was Robert Rascal, who, according to Foxe, was 
persecuted for his religion in 1517. 

I must not omit the mention of one or two of our 
household favourites. There are five Catts in our 
London Directory, entered in old days as Adam 
le Kat, or Milo le Chat. In the reign of Richard 
the Third, there was a rhyme to this effect : 

" The Rat, the Cat, and Lovel the Dog, 
Rule all England under the Hog." 

The Hog was the king, Rat was Ratcliffe, and Cat, 
Catesby. It is not often we hear of cat, dog, and rat, 
uniting together to worry others, and not one another ! 

* Another pet form of Cuthbert was " Crud," or " Crowd," and 
hence about Kendal and the Furness district of North Lan- 
cashire a familiar surname is Crewdson, and Croudson. It is 
a proof of the peculiar tenacity with which some names cling to 
the place of their origin, that there is no instance of this surname 
in the London Directory. 


If I recal my history correctly, however, they did 
fall out in the end. 

There must have been something sleek and smooth, 
if not stealthy, about the progenitor of our friends 
the Catts, I fear. But if our mouse-loving friends 
gave us their appellation, we were bountiful in return. 
For three hundred years the most familiar term for 
a cat was " Gib," from Gilbert. Hamlet says : 

" For who that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise, 
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, 
Such dear concernings hide ? " 

And in Peele's " Edward the First," the Novice says 
to the Friar : 

" Now, master, as I am true wag, 
I will be neither late nor lag, 
But go and come with gossip's cheer 
Ere Gib, our cat, can lick her ear." 

That Gib was short for Gilbert, our Gibbs, Gibsons, 
Gibbins, and Gibbons can prove. But " Gib " for a 
cat is obsolete, I fear ; and now we speak of a Tom- 
cat. A female cat was called a Tib-cat, or Tibert, 
from Tibb, or Tibot, pet forms of Theobalda, which 
at one period as Tibota was our commonest girl's 
name. In " Gammer Gurton's Needle," one of our 
very earliest dramatic plays, Dicon (Richard) says : 

" To brawle with you about her cocke, 

For well I heard Tyb say, 
The cocke was roasted in your house, 
To breakfast yesterday." 


Tyb was Gammer Gurton's " mayde." In the same 
play the cat is " Gib." The maid says of Gammer 
while stitching with her needle, 

" Gyb, our cat, in the milke-pan, 
She spied over head and ears." 

The Kitcat Club took its name from one Christopher 
Cat, who kept an eating-house in London, where the 
club members met. The pet name of Christopher 
was Kit (whence our Kitts, and Kitsons, and the 
island of St. Kitts, i.e. St. Christopher) : a conjunc- 
tion of the Christian and surname formed the term. 
I may here add that Bishop Ken represents the 
Norman word for the dog, an old form being Eborard 
le Ken, or Thomas le Chene. We still employ the 
term Kennel, which is from the same root 

This interchange of civilities has not been so 
largely cultivated between mankind and the finny 
tribe at least, not in England. Boys talk, 'tis true, of 
a Jack-sharp, and fishermen of a Jack-pike or a John 
Dory ; but there we end our distribution of nominal 
courtesies. But the denizens of our streams and 
becks and estuaries, whether in fresh water or salt, 
have turned the tables on us with a vengeance. No 
doubt, as the penalty of possessing certain peculiari- 
ties in gait, or habit, or complexion, many of our 
forefathers got nicknamed Grayling, Tench, Pike, 
Herring, Pilchard, or Sturgeon. Whale would be a 
nickname for a man of huge bulk. Thomas Spratt 
was Bishop of Rochester in 1688. We are all fami- 
liar with Chubb, on account of his patent locks. A 
Mr. Codde married a Miss Salt, and their first child 


bore the name of Salt Codde.* This is not more 
remarkable than " Preserved Fish," which figured for 
some years in the New York Directory, and may be 
there now for what I know to the contrary. A Mrs. 
Salmon is said to have presented her husband with 
three children at one birth, and to commemorate such 
an auspicious event, he had them christened by the 
names of Pickled, Potted, and Fresh. I do not 
vouch for the truth of this story ! f I may observe 
here that it is somewhat remarkable that quaint 
Isaac Walton, the great master, rather than "disciple 
of the rod," wrote the life of the "judicious Hooker." 
Most anglers are disposed to think that Walton 
himself was the most "judicious hook-er " that 
England has ever seen. At least, his success with 
the fish-basket was so great, and his meditations 
while occupied with his favourite pastime were so 
wise, that cynical Samuel Johnson could not say of 
his fishing rod, that there was a worm at one end 
and a fool at the other. 

Talking about fish, what an odd thing it seems that 

* The mother of Thomas Moore, the poet, bore the name of 
Anastasia Codd. I never see this conjunction of Christian 
name and surname without thinking of a very little man with a 
very big hat on. 

f A much prettier selection of names, after a triple birth, is 
recorded by Mr. Lower in his " English Surnames," where the 
three Christian graces of " Faith," " Hope," and " Charity," 
were chosen. This is a bond-fide instance : and I may observe 
here that I have among my manuscript copies of curious regis- 
trations, met with by myself, at least a dozen instances where 
either Faith, or Hope, or Charity have been imposed upon 
infants at baptism. 


there should be 181 Fishers and Fischers in the London 
Directory, only eight Rivers to fish in, and only sixteen 
Fish to catch ! Nor is this all : they have only three 
Rodds amongst them, thirty Lines or Lynes, thirty 
Hooks and Hookes, six Worms, nine Grubbs, and not 
a single " Fly." Nor do I see what they can want 
with three Basketts ; surely one would be enough 
for but sixteen Fish. Speaking, too, of Fish and 
Worms, we must not forget the old epitaph on Mr. 
Fish : 

" Worm's bait for fish, 

But here's a sudden change, 
Fish's bait for worms, 

Is not that passing strange ? " 

The reptile and insect world is not without traces 
of representation in the London Directory. There 
is no Alligator or Crocodile there, 'tis true; but 
there might have been, had the following story 
occurred a few generations earlier than it did. Not 
very long ago, in a northern town, there was a town 
councillor who delighted in the use of sesquipedalian 
English. He would never employ a short word if 
he could lay hands on a long one. He was rather 
of a positive turn, too. One day a fellow officer 
made a certain statement before the Council. Up 
jumps our friend, and cries out, "That allegation is 
false, and and the allegator knows it." He has 
been styled " Alligator " ever since. Fly, Wasp, Bee, 
Gnat, and Bugg once existed, but only Bee and Bugg 
remain. Black-adder was formerly common, and still 
lingers in the Metropolitan Directory as Blackadar. 
Bugg, however, can claim a local origin, for there 



can be little or no doubt that it is but one of the 
endless forms of Borough, found as Brough, Bury, 
Burgh, Burge, and Burke. Nevertheless Thomas 
Hood did not seem to like it : 

" A name if the party had a voice 
What mortal would be a Bugg by choice, 
As a Hogg, a Grubb, or a Chubb rejoice, 

Or any such nauseous blazon ? 
Not to mention many a vulgar name, 
That would make a doorplate blush for shame, 

If doorplates were not so brazen" 

"John Frog" occurs in the Hundred Rolls, but he 
jumped out of our Directories several centuries ago: 
and, possibly because his company did not please 
him, has never jumped in again. Tadpole, 'tis true, 
exists : but as Tadpoles in our Directories never 
manifest any further stage of development, the Frogs 
have never received any increase from them ! 

But these are not the only names we owe to the. 
animal creation. Our forefathers loved descriptive 
compounds. After all, there is nothing very terrible 
in being nicknamed a "wolf," or a "stott," or a 
"peacock," or a " buzzard," or a " salmon," or a "fly." 
Our national nickname is " John Bull," and who ever 
got into a state of virtuous indignation about that ? 
Yet " bull " is not, taken all round, a very compli- 
mentary sobriquet He's a stubborn, bellicose, lumber- 
some kind of creature ; and it's wonderful what a 
little matter, such as a red rag, will set him into a 
fury ! How frequently we term a man a pig-headed 
fellow. That was a favourite kind of nickname in 
old days, and our registers are not without traces 


of this. We have still Colfox, that is, sly fox. 
Herring is common ; but once we had Freshherring, 
Goodherring, Badherring, and Rottenherring in our 
Directories. Pigg, Grice, and Hogg are still to the 
fore ; but Cleanhog, Cleangrice, and Pigsflesh are all 
gone. Hogsflesh, as stated before, still exists in the 
South of England ; and a rhyme says that 

" Worthing is a pretty place, 
And if I'm not mistaken, 
If you can't get any butchers' meat, 
There's Hogsflesh and Bacon." 

Other compound nicknames of the same class are 
Poorfish, Catsnose, Cocksbrain, Buckskin, Goosebeak, 
Bullhead, and Calvesmaw; but they have all been 
shuffled out of our Directories, to give place to 
sobriquets more pleasant of origin, and more eupho- 
nious in sound. 

In my next chapter I shall proceed with this 
subject, and, if I can retain my readers' attention, 
we shall discuss Nicknames taken from moral and 
mental and physical characteristics not affixed 
through the agency of typical animal names, but by 
the ordinary and more direct phraseology. 


NICKNAMES (continued}. 

UR last chapter was devoted to the 
consideration of nicknames of a par- 
ticular class viz., animal names. We 
said that, to all intents and purposes, 
Sly and Fox were the same one 
representing a term for cunning, the 
other a type. But while re-asserting this statement, 
we are met by a difficulty. Many generations have 
elapsed since such a nickname as Sly was fixed upon 
its original bearer. Did the word " sly " then mean 
what it now means ? Was the name " Sly" given as 
a disparaging sobriquet, or a compliment ? Most 
probably the latter. Sly, or Sleigh, implied honest 
dexterity long before the juggler with his sleight-of- 
hand tricks ruined its verbal reputation. Even two 
hundred years ago only, when a well-known poet 
spoke of a good man as one whom 

" Graver age had made wise and sly," 
he was not misunderstood. 


It is so with many other nicknames ; and this 
explains the fact of their existence. Had Sly or 
Sleigh or Slee been confined to its present meaning 
three hundred years ago, we should not have found 
it in our directories in 1878. Our Seeleys and 
Selymans, our Sillys and Sillymans would probably 
have become nominally defunct, if silly had conveyed 
its modern meaning to the ears of our forefathers. 
" Silly," in former days, implied guilelessness ; we 
still use it in this sense in the phrase " silly lamb." 
An old proverb says : 

"Whylst grasse doth growe, 
Oft starves the seely steede." 

The best instance, however, I know of this use of the 
word is in Foxe's Martyrology, where, describing the 
martyrdom of a young child not seven years old, he 
says : " The captain, perceiving the child invincible, 
and himself vanquished, committed the silly soul, the 
blessed babe, the child uncherished, to the stinking 
prison." Here, of course, silly is the equivalent of 
innocent, or inoffensive. Our Sillymans and Sillys 
and Seeleys may fairly claim that theirs was a com- 
plimentary nickname. I mention these as instances 
only of a large class. 

When we come to bona-fide cases, we shall discover, 
not with any surprise, that almost all our nicknames 
are complimentary ! Our forefathers must have been 
a most highly respectable set of fellows, judging by 
this famous Directory. They never got drunk, for 
who can find a man who but rarely transgressed the 
limit of sobriety in our directories ? There is not a 


trace of meanness or cowardice about them. 'Tis 
true Coward is a common name, but then, as already 
shown, it is not a nickname at all, but an occupation, 
being none other than our old friend the cow-herd. 
On the other hand, see what a large number of 
Doughtys there are, and Bolds, and Gallants, and 
Prews, all backed up by Hardy, who worthily sits in 
the Cabinet. We meet with courtesy in our Curtis's 
and Curteis's ; with nobility in our Goodharts and 
Trumans ; with humility in our Humbles and Meeks ; 
with kindliness in our Gentles and Sweets; with 
firmness in our Steadys and Graves ; and with live- 
liness in our Sharps, Quicks, and Wittys. Nor are 
more abstract charms wanting. It can be truly said 
that there are plenty of Graces, for at least twelve 
appear. Faith and Hope are there, only Charity 
is wanting. Honour, Virtue, and Wisdom, however, 
make up in some degree for the absence of that gentle 
quality. Some people are " Good," but to be " Good- 
enough " and " Thorowgood " or " Thoroughgood," 
let alone "Toogood," seems only possible in our 
nomenclature. Many people, too, are " Perfect " in it, 
and "Sin" is not there, though " Want " is. Some 
cynic may say that Truth is conspicuous by its 
absence, but how can that be in the presence of five 
" Veritys " ? Not merely are we in the atmosphere 
of constant Spring, and Blossoms, and Budds, but 
twenty-five Summers appear in the same year, and 
Rosinbloom blows the twelve months round ! The 
" Tabernacle," the " Temple," and endless Churches 
for Churchfolk, Kirks for Scotch people, and Chapells 
for Nonconformists, are to be descried on every hand. 


Service is carried on from year to year, to suit all 
tastes ; there are seven Creeds ; Heaven and Paradise, 
with their attendant Bliss, complete the picture. 
Oh, what a wonderful community we seem to be in 
this directory of ours ! Human nature would appear 
to have overridden and crushed all its weaker in- 
firmities, and issued forth into something like what 
its poets have loved to depicture it. The London 
Directory is the great parish register of Utopia. 

That some sad infirmities did once really exist 
our olden records show, if our directories of to-day 
do not. Who could conceive, after this last picture, 
that Bustler and Meddler once loved to make 
their objectionable presence felt ; that Foolhardy 
and Giddyhead won for themselves a vain notoriety ; 
that Cruel and Fierce delighted to display their 
unbridled passions ; that Wilful and Sullen fed their 
hidden and unconsumed fires ; and that Milksop 
and Sparewater had the impudence to show their 
faces in polite society ? Yet such was the case ! If 
there had been a directory of London published 
by authority under the reign of Henry the Seventh, 
all these names, and a hundred others of a similar 
kind, would have found habitation in its pages. 

We may here notice that two modern instances of 
nicknames occupied public attention a few months 
ago. They are of advantage as showing how 
easily and even naturally sobriquets of this class fix 
themselves upon the bearers, and how readily they 
are accepted by the same. They are the more 
worthy of attention because they are borne by men 
of high estate. It was less than a year ago that the 


English papers announced the death of a well-known 
native Indian merchant who had been knighted by 
Her Majesty. What was his surname ? Nothing 
more nor less than Readymoney ! The worthy mer- 
chant commonly signed himself as such. He was 
notorious for his princely generosity, and one of his 
peculiarities was to pay down at once whatever sums 
he devoted to the different charities he patronised. 
So well-known was he for this practice, that he 
acquired the nickname of Readymoney. The other 
instance is that of the King of Bonny. He was 
brought up in England, and is one of the first African 
potentates who has embraced and been trained in 
the religion of Jesus Christ. A large amount of 
pepper has come to England every year from his 
dominions, so the traders got into the way of styling 
him King Pepper. The natives being more accus- 
tomed to liquid letters, turned it into Pepple. What 
is the consequence ? The king has taken it for his 
surname ; and when he appeared two years ago at 
St. Paul's Cathedral, in the service held by the Pan- 
Anglican Synod, the newspapers did not fail to note 
the fact, and without any thought of depreciation 
of his high position as an African potentate, gravely 
announced that in the vast congregation that swelled 
the limits of the metropolitan cathedral, was to be 
seen, joining reverently in the service, His Majesty 
King Pepple ! What can more vividly demonstrate 
to us in the nineteenth century the ease with which 
these nicknames some sober, some ludicrous, some 
complimentary, some the reverse would be affixed 
to certain of our forefathers four or five hundred years 


ago, and cling to them and to their posterity to all 
time ? 

Every old list of names had its large proportion of 
nicknames. Take the members of the York Corpus 
Christi Guild of the fifteenth century. We find such 
associates as Henry Langbane (Longbone), John 
Ambuler (from his gait), Thomas Chaste, William 
Fellowship (from his social habits), Agnes Blak- 
mantyll (Black-mantle, from some favoured garment 
she wore), Margaret Amorous, Thomas Brownlace, 
William Fairbarne (pretty child), Agnes Fatty, 
William Goodbarne (good child), William Goodlad, 
John Godherd (if not Goddard, then Good-herd), 
Richard Gayswain, Richard Preitouse, John Young, 
Robert Pepirkorne, John Makblyth (Make-blithe, a 
very pretty name), Isabella Maw, William Wyldest, 
Peter Trussebutt, John Handelesse, John Corderoy, 
John Bentbow, Robert Sparrow, and William Nut- 
brown. These are all trades members of the same 
guild in the then small city of York. Their origins 
are as simple as they are various. In Makeblithe, 
Fellowship, and Gayswain, we see a joyous disposi- 
tion; in Peppercorn and Truss-butt, the owners' 
business; in Amorous, Chaste, or Goodbairn, moral 
characteristics ; in Blackmantle and Brownlace, peculi- 
arities of habit ; in Longbone, Handless, and Nut- 
brown, bodily idiosyncracies. And so on with the rest. 
What a mine of surnames is here opened out to view ! 
How largely representative is the London Directory, 
we have already seen in the case of animal names, to 
which class belongs Robert Sparrow in the above list. 

In continuing the subject, it is at once manifest 


that we can but generalize. We have had to do so 
with all the other classes ; especially are we compelled 
in the division we have styled " Nicknames." 

Look at bodily peculiarities. There is not a shape 
man can assume, but is described in the Directory. 
There is not an accident that can befall him but it is 
there recorded, just as if it were the entry book of 
cases for a London hospital. There is not a pecu- 
liarity in his style of dress, or management of his 
limbs, or complexion of his skin, or colour of his 
hair, that is not set down with as great a care as if 
he were a suspected character in a detective's note- 
book. Nevertheless, let us be careful not to fall 
into a trap. A hundred local names look very like 
nicknames. Tallboy occurs twice in our Directory. 
These gentlemen represent the Norman Talboys 
frequently found in Domesday Book. Longness, 
Thickness, and Redness, may not mean Longnose, 
Thicknose, and Rednose, although nose was " ness " 
in the days when these surnames arose. Thickness 
is known to be local. Any sharp promontory on the 
coast is a Naze or Ness (i.e. a Nose). Hence such a 
name as Dengeness in Kent. A Miss Charlotte Ness 
inquired the meaning of the logical terms abstract 
and concrete. The answer was given in verse : 

" Say what is abstract, what concrete ? 

Their difference define." 
" They both in one fair person meet, 

And that, dear maid, is thine." 

" How so ? The riddle pray undo." 
" I thus your wish express : 
For when I lovely Charlotte view, 
I then view loveli-Ness." 


Still we may safely assume of the great majority that 
they are what they seem to be. We will at once 
proceed to inspect some of them. 

Let us begin with the head, keeping our eye mean- 
time on the pages of the Directory for evidence. 

We have Heads (often local) and Tates many ; 
indeed, they are truly tete-a-tete in the Directory, 
for of the latter no less than eleven are in immediate 
proximity. We have Silverlock, Whitelock, or Whit- 
lock, Blacklock, and the remains of an old fashion 
common to mediaeval beaux in Lovelock. Redhead, 
and Whitehead, and Hoar or Hoare, and White 
and Brown, and Rouse, and Sangwine, and Black, 
and Blund or Blunt, are an innumerable force. 
Beard and Blackbeard are to the fore still, though 
Brownbeard is gone, and probably Bluebeard never 
was there. The Directory can show its Cheek, like 
any other fellow of forward disposition, and Joule 
is not far off. And although it has no Mouth, it 
possesses at least one Gumm, one Tooth, and 
two Tongues. " Tooth," by the way, has been 
refusing some ecclesiastic dentistry lately ; but it 
will need a good deal of tugging to get him out of 
the Directory. There is no Gumboil, I am glad to 
say, at present, but he may make his appearance 
any day, as he is known in other parts of England. 
There are eleven Notts to be seen, and two Notmans, 
whose progenitors were remarkable for their shorn 
heads. A man was said to have a not-head who 
presented this appearance, and in the old rolls was 
set down as Peter le Not, or William le Not. So 
although Must y and Cant, and Shall, and Will, look 


as if the Directory (they are all in it) had a strong 
will of its own, we must not argue the matter so far 
as Nott is concerned. 

Looking at man's extremities the feet, we again 
find that it is hard to decide whether the termination 
" foot " is of local or nickname origin. The Directory 
has all manner of feet : a Brown foot, a Whitefoot, a 
Crowfoot, a Barefoot, a Proudfoot, a Lightfoot, and 
a Harefoot. Lightfoot has just footed it all the 
way to the episcopal palace of Durham. We may 
ail, in congratulating the learned Professor, pray 
that by God's aid he may be a light unto the feet of 
his clergy, and guide them in true and safe paths. 
Remembering too, his predecessor, the firm, yet 
" kindly Baring," we might concoct an epigram of our 
own, and say, with many apologies to the coachman 
for the liberty we take, 

Come, Lightfoot, mount, the ribbons take, 
When roads are downward on the brake 

Set not thy foot too lightly, 
And though the reign of Baring's o'er, 

Hold bearing-rein as tightly. 

Or we might put another play on the name : 

Lightfoot has gone to Durham's see : 
If name and mind in him agree, 

Of foes he'll have not any ; 
For then a lantern he will be 

To light \hzfeet of many. 

Bishop Baring was so staunch a churchman as to put 
his foot on Ritualism. Hence a young curate in his 
diocese said, with more wit than warrant, that the 


difference betwixt him and his bishop was that he 
was under Baring, while the other was over-bearing. 
Speaking of Lightfoot, however, I have heard my 
father tell of a minister appointed many years ago 
somewhere in the neighbourhood of Ashton-under- 
Lyne, whose name was Light. Coming unexpectedly 
into a room where a prayer-meeting was being held 
that a good pastor might be sent to them, he heard 
them singing the two lines well known to most of 
my readers, 

" Sometimes a Light surprises 
The Christian while he sings." 

It is said he was inclined to look upon it as an 
augury that he had done rightly in accepting the 
post. Foot we have already said is very common, 
but there is only one Toe, and, as is but proper, only 
one Nail. An old epigram says : 

" Twixt Footman Sam and Doctor Toe 

A controversy fell, 
Which should prevail against his foe 

And bear away the belle ; 
The lady chose the footman's heart : 

Say, who can wonder ? No man : 
The whole prevailed above the part 

'Twas Footman versus Toe, man. 

Rawbones is not a pleasant name, and would be 
by no means suggestive of agreeable associations 
to its possessor. Some will recall Praise God Bare- 
bones, as he has been wrongly styled, for his name 
was Barebone, and it was never otherwise called 
till about a hundred years ago. There is all the 


difference in the world between Barebone and 
Barebones, and a good deal of point is lost, there- 
fore, in the elder Disraeli's remark, "There are 
some names which are very injurious to the cause 
in which they are engaged ; for instance, the 
long parliament in Cromwell's time, called by 
derision the Rump, was headed by one Barebones, 
a leather-seller." The reason of the change is 
simple enough. That assembly went by the style 
of Barebone's parliament, and thus people forgot 
that the "s" did not belong to the name. The 
name is found in James' reign as Barbon, and 
stripped of the two "e's" ceases to be ludicrous in 
any sense whatever. 

One of the earliest ways of forming a surname of 
the nickname class was to compound with the bap- 
tismal name an adjective of size, age, relationship, or 
condition. We are all familiar with such a name as 
Little-john, which may well stand as a typical illus- 
tration, for I see in my London Directory nine 
instances occur. The father of the original bearer 
was doubtless John, and the son being baptized by 
the same agnomen, the neighbours would readily get 
into the way of styling him Little John. The grand- 
son would accept this as his surname, and thus the 
sobriquet would become a permanency. These com- 
pounds of John are not uncommon, for that was the 
commonest baptismal name in those days, save 
William. Thus we have Mickle-john, i.e. big John ; 
Brown-john ; Hob-john, i.e. clownish John ; and 
Young-john, an instance of which I saw in Kidder- 
minster not long ago. By means of French impor- 


tation, or through our Norman forefathers, we have 
also Pru-jean, Gros-jean, and Petit-jean. Proper-John, 
though not in the London Directory, is very common 
in some parts of the country, and implied that the 
original bearer was a well-formed, shapely youth. 
This old use of the term is preserved in our Autho- 
rized Version, where St. Paul is made to speak of 
Moses as " a proper child." Our Properjohns need 
not be ashamed of their designation. Speaking of 
Youngjohn, I may state that in one of our Yorkshire 
local directories may be seen John Berry, and im- 
mediately below Young John Berry. Doubtless the 
son was baptized " Young John," to distinguish him 
from his father ; and thus an old custom was but 
restored in a more formal manner at the font. As 
Young John Berry has now grown to man's estate, 
as is proved by the fact that he occupies a place of 
his own in the aforementioned directory, we may, 
perhaps, some day see in a future issue of that 
same public register, " Still Younger John Berry!' 
as the title of the representative of the third 
generation ! The most interesting name in its 
associations, however, is that of Bon-jean or Bon- 
john, i.e. Good John, corrupted into Bunyan. So 
early as the year 1310 there dwelt in London a 
householder of the name of Jon Bonjon. My 
readers will deem it, I doubt not, a happy coin- 
cidence that when we speak of the author of 
the immortal "Pilgrim's Progress" as "Good John 
Bunyan," we are simply saying twice over " Good 
John": once in English, and once in French. 
Probably the ancestor of the dreamer of Bedford was 


a Norman tradesman, who had come over to London 
to better himself. 

Speaking of these Norman-French names ending 
in Jean, such as Gros-Jean, Petit-Jean, or Bon-Jean, 
we are reminded that this mode of forming surnames 
was much more common in France than in England. 
A single glance at the Paris Directory will amply 
demonstrate this. We find Grand-jean (Big-John), 
Grand-perret and Grand-pierre (Big- Peter), Grand- 
collet (Big-Nicholas), and Grand-Guillot (Big- 
William). Of an opposite character we light upon 
Petit-collin (Little Nicholas), Petit-guillaume (Little- 
William), Petit-perrin and Petit-pierre (Little-Peter), 
and Petit-jeannin, corresponding to our English 
Little-john already alluded to. These instances, 
which might be amplified to any extent, will suffice 
to prove that nicknames of this class are far more 
prevalent with our French neighbours than ourselves. 

But while such qualificatory terms as "good," 
"long," "young," and "proper," were freely applied 
to baptismal names, they were not limited to such. 
Long-skinner used to exist as a surname, also Young- 
smith and Good-groom. One of our most aristocratic 
names is Beau-clerk ; and its opposite, Mau- clerk, once 
familiar enough to our ears, still exists in the 
corrupted form of Manclerk. Talking, however, of 
ears, the name that sounds most curious upon the 
modern tympanum is that of Good-Knave. This is 
no corruption, and meant exactly what it seems to 
mean that the original bearer was a good honest 
knave ! But then, as many of my readers are aware, 
there was a time when a knave was nothing more 


than a servant or page. Shakespear speaks of one 
who is but 

" Fortune's knave, 
A minister of her will." 

Young-husband, of which there are four representa- 
tives in our London Directory, is a very familiar 
instance of this class, although husband had no doubt 
a much wider significance in the day that the 
surname arose. Goodfellow is also well known ; and, 
above all, one of our American cousins has made 
Longfellow famous to all time. If you come to 
analyse the name of the author of " Evangeline," 
it has not a very attractive origin. The earliest 
instances I can find are in our Yorkshire records, 
and there it is set down Long-fellay. Even now 
in Lancashire and Yorkshire a fellow is always a 
" felley." I wonder if Henry Longfellow ever heard 
of Thomas Longfellow, landlord of the Golden Lion 
Inn at Brecon, who must have made a somewhat long 
face when he saw the following lines inscribed upon a 
panel of his coffee-room : 

" Tom Longfellow's name is most justly his due : 
Long his neck, long his bill, which is very long, too ; 
Long the time ere your horse to the stable is led ; 
Long before he's rubbed down, and much longer till fed ; 
Long indeed may you sit in a comfortless room 
Till from kitchen long dirty your dinner shall come ; 
Long the oft-told tale that your host will relate ; 
Long his face while complaining how long people eat ; 
Long may Longfellow long ere he see me again : 
Long 'twill be ere I long for Tom Longfellow's Inn." 

The well-known publishers, Messrs. Longman, repre- 



sent, of course, but another form of the same name. 
Indeed, as will be seen at a glance, this class could 
be extended indefinitely ; so indefinitely that, were I 
to set all the instances down one by one, I should 
have to write a big book instead of a small one. 
This is exactly what the Editor does not desire ; for 
which reason not to hint that the reader might be 
weary I withhold my hand : and indeed it is time. 

Hazell, Watson, and Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury. 

Major-General Ponsonby, K.C.B., writes: "The Queen is much 
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By Mrs. JOHNSON, Author of " Hints to Untrained Teachers," etc. Dedicated 

CONTENTS. Tuning the Bells. Owe no Man Anything. How to 
Order the Dinner. Cleanliness, Warmth, and Light. How to Dress 
Comfortably. Wear and Tear. Like Mistress, like Maid. Service 
done. Do you Mean what you Say? That State of Life. Money 
Matters. Postscript. 

"'The Bride Elect,' by Mrs. Johnson, a daughter of the late Dr. M'Caul, is a truly 
bridal volume." The Record. 

"From the Hand and Heart office, bound right bridally, we have 'The Bride 
Elect.' It is a book to give a strong sense of responsibility and to stir up the energies, 
and we should like to see it much read and much heeded." Guardian. 

II. Now ready, in elegant cloth boards, with Frontispiece, zs. 6d. 


Compiled by the Rev. CHARLFS BULLOCK, B.D., Editor of "Hand and Heart," 

" Home Words," etc. 

" Something well said on almost every topic." Public Opinion. 
"An attractive volume." Pictorial World. 
" Does not contain a single dead thing." Sword and Trowel. 
" Short and interesting articles." Record. 

III. Now ready, elegantly bound in cloth, gilt, and printed on specially prepared 
paper, zs. 6d. A cheaper edition, in fancy paper boards, is. 6d. 


By the Rev. SAMUEL B. JAMES, M.A., Vicar of Northmarston. 
With Fourteen original illustrations by S. C. PENNEFATHER. 
"A seasonable gift book." Daily Telegraph. 

" Short, amusing, and instructive papers from the well-known pen of the Rev. 
S. B. James." Record. 

IV. Now ready, in elegant cloth boards, with Frontispiece Portrait, zs. 6d. 


By the late Mrs. CLARA L. BALFOUR. With Biographical Sketch by the 

" We commend it to households of every class." Daily Telegraph. 

V. Now ready, in handsome cloth, gilt, 2s. 6d. 

TRUE AND STRONG; or, Mark Heywood's Work. 

By EMMA MARSHALL, Author of " Mrs. Haycock's Chronicles." 
" Pleasantly written." Daily News. 




VI. Now ready, in handsome doth, gilt, with Frontispiece. 2s. 6d. 


A Story of Life Service. 

" 111 that He blesses is our good, 
And unblessed good is ill ; 

And all is right that seems most wrong 
If it be His sweet will." 

VII. In gilt cloth, toned paper, with Portrait and Eight Illustrations. 
3-y. 6d. 


With Biographical Sketch, by the REV. CHARLES BULLOCK, B.D. 


V. The Keeper of the Prison. 

I. Portrait of Dean Champneys. 
II. " Behold, He prayeth." ' 
III. The Escape of St. Paul. 
IV. St. Paul at Philippi. 

VI. The Farewell at Miletus. 
VII. The Shipwreck. 
VIII. St. Paul at Rome. 
"We heartily commend this attractive volume." Record. 

VIII. In cloth, gilt, toned, with Frontispiece. $s. 6d. 


By A. V. L. 

With an introduction by MRS. BAYLY, Author of " Ragged Homes," etc. 
" If ever book spoke for itself, it is this." Record. 

IX. In cloth, gilt, toned paper, is. 6d. 


By the late Rev. J. B. OWEN, M.A. 

" We have read Mr. Owen's ' Homes of Scripture ' at least a dozen times ; and we 
could read them a dozen times more." The Fireside. 



Now ready, price id. 
Notes on Nursing : for Arti- 

zans and Cottagers. In three chapters. 

" Mrs. Gladstone is great in the 
' politics of Home ' the most important 
politics of all which treat of questions 
that concern the social and domestic 
happiness of the people." Hatid and 




Fifteenth thousand \ price 2d. 
The Forgotten Truth: or 

The Gospel of the Holy Ghost. 


Third Thousand, price 2d. 
Decision for G-od: Words of 

Counsel for Young Men. 


Fifth Thousand, price id. 
Preachers and Hearers. 




Thirteenth Thousand, in Fourteen Chapters, Elegantly Bound in Coloured Boards, 
with Five Illustrations, price is. In bevelled cloth, gilt, for Presentation, price 25. 




f0rjr toitjr & |p 




With Illustrations Designed by S. C. Pennefather : 

Engraved by J. D. COOPER. 


The contrast between the cost of Books and Magazines is very startling. For 
example, one Serial Tale in "THE FIRESIDE," published separately as a volume, 
sells for $s. ; and if the other contents were also published separately, the selling 
price of the volumes would reach to about 255-. Yet "THE FIRESIDE" Annual 
itself is sold complete for js. 6d. In the same way, the Serial Tales in " HOME 
WORDS," published separately, would make a 2$. 6d. volume, and the other contents 
in volumes would sell for about ios. Yet the Annual itself may be had for is. 6d. 
and 2S. 

The explanation is chiefly found in the large circulation of Magazines as compared 
with Books, which entirely changes the cost of production. Books seldom exceed an 
edition of 1000 copies, the sale extending over many months ; whilst a successful 
Magazine secures the immediate sale of one or two hundred thousand copies. 

As the first of a proposed Series of similar works, adapted for wide circulation, it 
has been decided to print what may be termed 

dirittott of " |p Waj fame." 

The volume, which has already passed through Six Editions, was originally issued 
at the price of 3$. 6d. It is now, in an illustrated, larger, and more attractive 
form, sold for One Shilling: furnishing an example of the possible cheapness 
of books, if they can be printed in numbers corresponding with the circulation of our 
popular Magazines. 

Since this experiment, if successful, cannot fail largely to promote the diffusion of 
Christian literature, it is hoped that the Clergy and others will aid in introducing the 
volume to general notice, calling the attention of Booksellers to it, etc. The 
publisher will be glad to forward a Specimen Copy for this purpose, free by post, to 
any address on receipt of twelve stamps. 

As a book suitable for Confirmation candidates, it can be supplied to the Clergy 
on special terms for fifty or one hundred copies. 


"Hand and Heart" Office, 

I, Paternoster Buildings, E.G. 

ty* Quttn. 

The Editor of " Hand and Heart" "Home Words," etc., has been 
honoured with a message from the QUEEN. CANON CONNOR, one of 
Her Majesty's Chaplains, writes : 

" Her Majesty permits me to say she has read and ap- 
proved of ' Hand and Heart ' with much pleasure." 


id. Weekly. 


Edited by the Rev. CHARLES BULLOCK, B.D., Author of " The Way Home* 


In Rich Cloth Gilt Binding, ^s. 6d. 

"The art is as good as the literature," The Art Journal. 
" A splendid volume, well deserving a permanent existence." Record. 

The following brief summary of Contents will give an idea of the Character 
and Objects of this Paper : 


I. THE WEEK : A Chronicle of Current Events and Opinions. 
II. IN PARLIAMENT : A Digest of the Debates during the 

III. LEADERS on the most prominent Topics of the Day. 



2. Witchcraft in the Nineteenth Cen- 


3. The Great Plague, etc., etc. 

i. Gold Workers. 

2.' Our Seed Growers. 

3. The Post Office, etc., etc. 


1. Balmoral. 

2. Modern Rome. 

3. A Peep at Holland. 

4. Walks about Paris, etc., etc. 


V. MEN OF MARK: Lives with 

1. Archbishop of Canterbury. 

2. Dr. Duff. 

3. Canon Ryle. 

4. The Lord Chancellor. 

5. Earl Russell. 

6. George Cruikshank. 

7. W. E. Forster, M.P. 

8. Sir W. Lawson, M.P. 

9. J. B. Gough. With many others. 



1. Baskets and Brooms. 


2. The Earls of the Village. By AGNES 


3. Three Scenes in a Life. By the 

late Mrs. BALFOUR. 


i. The Monks of Old. 

MONTH, etc., etc. 

Illustrations by HARRISON WEIR and other First Class Artists. 

A Tale, entitled "SEVENTY YEARS AGO," by Mrs. MARSHALL, is now 




Edited by the Rev. CHARLES BULLOCK, B.D., Author of " The Way Home" etc. 

Elegantly bound in cloth, gilt, with ornamental design, 288 pp., price 2s. ; 
or, in coloured boards, is. 6d. 




III. Way Side Chimes. By FRANCES vil. Talks with the People. B 


IV. "Sunbeam" Sketches. By 

Mrs. BRASSEY. With Illustrations. 

V. The Church of our Fathers. 

By the Rev. G. EVERARD, M.A. 

VI. Things that are Like. 


By the 

j. By 

VIII. The Temperance Witness 

BOX. By the EDITOR. 

IX. Illustrated Poems. By the 

Rev. R. WILTON, M.A., and other 

X. The Young Folks' 
XI. Monthly 


In rich crimson cloth, gilt edges, full-page illustrations, 'js. 6 



III. Sunday Readings. By the 

Rev. GORDON CALTHROP, the late 
and others. 

IV. Of Foibles. By a Nameless 


V. Lord Lawrence, and other 
Biographies. By the EDITOR. 

VI. Papers Practical. By the Rev. 


VII. Sidelights from Heraldry. 

By the Rev. S. B. JAMES. 

VIII. Prize Competition in English 
Literature. By the BISHOP of 


IX. Tales for Our Sons and 

Daughters. By various Authors. 

X. Art Studies from Landseer. 

By H. G. REID. With Illustra- 

XI. London Illustrated with Pen 

and Pencil. By a LONDON 

XII. The Month, etc. 


Elegantly bound in cloth gilt, full-page illustrations, price 2s. 



II. TRIED GOLD : a Story of Love and Duty. By F. H. Knapp. 

III. Echoes from the Word. By 

IV. Irish Mission Work. By the 

Rev. CANON HAYMAN and others. 

V. Jottings on the Word. By the 

Rev. W. H. CUTTING. 
VI. Christian Biography. By 

VII. The Sunday Bible Hour. 

1. Notes Critical and Expository. 

2. Life Illustrations of Bible 


3. Bible Exercises and Questions. 

VIII. The Poetry of Home. By the 

Rev. R. WILTON, add others. 

IX. The Olive Branch, Papers 
for the Young, etc. 




/- . r 





Bardsley, Charles Wareing 

The romance of the London