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John Cradocke, knight, great grandfather of Sir Henry Newton of Somersetshire, tooke first the name of Newton, which was the name of his habitation; as the issue of Huddard in Cheshire tooke the name of Dutton their chief mansion."*
Sir Grey Skipwith is the lineal descendant of Patrick, the youngest son of Robert Stuteville, whose father came over with the Conqueror, and who took the name of Skipwith from his possessions at a place so called. Another branch of the same family took the name of Latton on the same account, and still flourishes in Berkshire. In like manner the family of Major-Gen. Ireton who married a daughter of Oliver Cromwell, branched out at an early period from that of Shirley (Lord Ferrers) and adopted their surname in the 12th century from the manor of Little Ireton co. Derby.t The families of Hever and Toneford are of the same blood as that of Cobham, in Kent; while from the celebrated stock of Dering in that county, the following surnames have ramified : De-la-Hell, Wrotham, Cuckeston, Perinton, Pirefield, Cheriton, and Ash. These were all adopted from the names of places where younger sons of the family had effected a settlement. In these and hundreds of other instances “a local habitation and a name” were simultaneously acquired.
The annexed little pedigree of a family in Cheshire soon after the Conquest affords a most striking illustration of the changes which occurred in family names before hereditary surnames were fully established, and of the consequent difficulty which must be experienced in tracing pedigrees in those early times. It was taken by Camden “out of an antient Roule belonging to Sir William Brereton of Brereton, knight.” * Camden.
† Shirley's Stemmata Shirleiana. # Vide Curiosities of Heraldry, p. 305.
“WILLIAM BELWARD, Lord of Malpas in Cheshire, had two Sons,
1. THOMAS, called DE COT. GRAVE, from his estate.
called DE OVERTON, from his estate.
3. RICHARD, surnamed LIT. TLE, from his diminutive stature.
1. Dan DAVID of Malpas, called on account of his scholarship “ Le Clerke."
the name of
A SON, took the name of GOODman,
1. A SON, called 2. JOHN RICHARD. KENCLARKE, that is SON, from his father's “knowing scholar."
* An eminent antiquary, well acquainted with the genealogy of Cheshire families, informs me that “Other of the baronial races of the palatinate ramified as much as the barons of Malpas did, particularly the Vernons, the Stokeports, and the Venąbles.” In the barony of Kendal (Westmoreland and Lancashire) the male descendants of Ivo DE TAILBOIS will be found in the same manner to divide into (1) De Lancaster, (2) Curwen, and (3) Irby; and, according to strong probabilities, into (4) Kelleth, (5) Coupland, (6) Fitz-Orme,and (7) Fitz-Gilbert. To these West (Hist. Furness) adds (8) Bardsea, (9) Broughton, (10) Lowick, (11) Kirby, (12) Preston ; and Wotton (Baronetage) subjoins (13) Lea of Lea, and (14) Houghton.'
From this table it will be seen that in four descents, and among about fifteen persons descended from one and the same individual, there were no less than thirteen surnames. Well may our antiquary say, “Verily the gentlemen of those so different names in Cheshire would not easily be induced to believe they were descended from one house, if it were not warranted by so ancient a proofe." It is also worthy of remark that we have here in one family, within the compass probably of a single century, five descriptions of surnames, namely, FOREIGN, as Belward ; LOCAL, as De Malpas, De Cotgrave; from PERSONAL QUALITIES, as Gogh or red, and Little;
from MENTAL QUALITIES AND ATTAINMENTS, as Goodman and Ken-Clarke; and from the PATERNAL NAME, as Richardson.
Another of Camden's instances : A young gentleman of the family of Preux, an attendant on Lord Hungerford, Lord Treasurer of England, being of remarkably tall stature, acquired among his companions the sobriquet of Long Henry. Marrying afterwards a lady of quality he transposed his name to Henry Long, and became the founder of an eminent family, who bore Long as a surname. The original name of the most renowned of the compeers of Robin Hood was John LITTLE, (a sobriquet acquired from his being a foot taller than ordinary men), but on joining Robin's party he was re-baptized, and his names were reversed. Will Stukeley loquitur :
“ This infant was called John Little, (quoth he,)
Which name shall be changed anon;
His name shall be called Little John."
There are many cases on record of the sons of great heiresses having left their paternal surnames for those of their mothers: this was done by the Stanleys, Nevilles, Percies, Carews, Cavendishes, Braybrookes, &c. &c. Johanna Stuteville (great-great-grandmother of Joan, “the fair maid of Kent," mother of Richard II, in consequence of her immense possessions retained her maiden name in widowhood.* Others took the names of attainted lords whose property fell into their possession : this was the case with the Mowbrays.
Some changed their names by the Royal command, as we have seen in the case of the Cromwells.
“ I love you,” said Edward the Fourth to some of the family of Picard, “but not your name;" whereupon they adopted others : one took that of Ruddle, from the place of his birth-no improvement, certainly, so far as euphony goes.
During the civil wars in the time of Henry the Fourth, several of our antient families changed their names for the purpose of concealment, as the Blunts of Buckinghamshire, who assumed that of Croke ; and the Carringtons of Warwickshire, who took that of Smith. I
Ralph Brooke, York Herald in 1594, says, “If a man had three sonns, the one dwelling at the Townsend, the other at y Woode, and the thyrde at the Parke, they all took theyr surnames of theire dwellings, and left their aunciente surnames; which errour hath overthrowen and brought into oblyvion manye aunciente houses in this realme of England.”ş
There is much justice in this remark, however inconsistently it may come from Brooke, who had himself changed his name from Brokesmouth.
With respect to ecclesiastics, or as they are styled * Dugdale.
+ Camden. # Fuller's Worthies, p. 51. f From a MS. quoted in Blore's Monumental Remains.
by Holinshed, "spiritual men," it was, according to that historian, an almost invariable fashion to take awaie the father's surname (were it never so worshipful or antient), and give him for it the name of the towne he was born in ;” and another writer informs us that “ It was the use in old time upon entrye into religion to alter the name and take it from the place, for that by their taking religious habits they were dead persons in law, as to the world, and the next heire should inherite and enter upon their lande as if they were ded indeed; and professing themselves of an order, they were revived to a spiritual life, and so assumed a new name.”*
Of this practice amongst the clergy, especially upon their entering into holy orders, innumerable instances occur, but it may be sufficient to quote the two cele. brated prelates, William of Wykeham, whose father's name was Longe, and William Waynflete, who, as an unbeneficed acolyte, is found in the episcopal register of Lincoln (as Dr. Chandler conjectures) under the name of Barbor, and which he dropped on becoming a sub-deacon. Waynflete's father was called indifferently Richard Patten or Barbour.t
In our own times family names are often changed, in accordance with testamentary injunctions accompanying bequests of property. Sometimes a less weighty, though not less powerful, motive has produced the change, namely, a desire to be somebody,' and to avoid the imputation of low birth and connexions. Of Smythe, Cutlar, Tayleure, Yonge, Broun, Fysshe, Foord, Willyams, Martyn, &c., we may observe,“ Stant nominis umbra.” These, however, are trifling departures
* Harl. MS., 4630.
+ Archäologia, vol. xviii, p. 109.