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hand' as has been stated, but is, according to Mr. Talbot,* “an old Norman name meaning 'Spur the Steed,' and analogous to Hotspur." It comes, he adds, from two old words which Wace often uses in the Roman de Rou; the first meaning 'to spur,' from the Latin 'pungo ;' and the second 'a steed or courser,' in French 'destrier,' and in Italian 'destriere.'
The French name VA-LA-VOIR (Go and see') proved fatal to one of its bearers. The story is related in Smollett's Adventures of an Atom. One Count Valavoir under the command of the celebrated Turenne, walking round the camp after nightfall, passed the post of a sentinel, who, as in duty bound, challenged him with the usual “Who goes there?” to which the officer promptly replied Valavoir. The soldier deeming the answer a piece of insolence, twice repeated the challenge, and twice again received the same response, until, enraged beyond endurance, he levelled his musket, and, horribile dictu, shot the bearer of this most unfortunate cognomen dead upon the spot.
Many of the names given to foundlings might be classed with historical surnames. A poor child picked up at the town of Newark-upon-Trent, received from the inhabitants the whimsical name of Tom Among us. Becoming a man of eminence, he changed his name for the more euphonious one of DR. THOMAS MAGNUS. He was employed in several embassies, and, in gratitude to the good people of Newark, he erected a grammar-school there, which still exists.t
At Doncaster there is a person named Found, whose grandfather's grandfather was a foundling. Inventus occurs in the register of that parish as a surname.
* English Etymol. p. 301.
+ Camd. Rem. p. 128.
The following was related to me by a gentleman, one of whose friends witnessed the occurrence. A poor child who had been found in the high-road, and conveyed to the village workhouse, being brought before the parish vestry to receive a name, much sage discussion took place, and many brains were racked for an appropriate cognomen. As the circumstance happened in the month of flowers and song," a good-natured farmer suggested that the poor child should be christened John May; a proposition in which several of the vestrymen concurred. One of the clique, however, more aristocratic than his neighbours, was of opinion that that was far too good a name for the ill-starred brat, and proposed in lieu of it that of JACK PARISH—the designation that was eventually adopted !
In the month of October, 1760, a male child which had been exposed, was picked up near Shepherd's Bush, Hammersmith, and was baptized on the 19th of that month, by the name of Thomas Shepherd's Bush.
* I shall conclude these anecdotes with another on the name of a foundling. There now resides at no great distance from Lewes, a farmer whose family name is Brooker, to which the odd dissyllable of Napkinis prefixed as a Christian name. Both these names he inherits from his grandfather, a foundling, who was exposed at some place in Surrey, tied up in a napkin and laid on the margin of a brook; and who—as no traces of his unnatural parents could be found—received the very appropriate, though somewhat cacophonous name of NAPKIN BROOKER!
* Faulkner's Hammersmith.
NOTE ON NAMES GIVEN TO FOUNDLINGS.
The following extract from Brownlow's Chronicles of Foundling Hospital,' while it may amuse the lovers of nominal curiosities, will also serve to show how certain illustrious surnames have become the property of persons occupying very humble stations in society.
“It has been the practice of the governors from the earliest period to the present time to name the children at their own will and pleasure whether their parents should have been known or not. At the baptism of the children first taken into the Hospital, which was on the 29th of March, 1741, it is recorded that 'there was at the ceremony a fine appearance of persons of quality and distinction ; his grace the Duke of Bedford, our president, their graces the Duke and Duchess of Richmond, the Countess of Pembroke, and several others, honouring the children with their names and being their sponsors.' Thus the register of this period presents the courtly names of Abercorn, Bedford, Bentinck, Montague, Marlborough, Newcastle, Norfolk, Pomfret, Pembroke, Richmond, Vernon, &c. &c., as well as those of numerous other living individuals great and small, who at that time took an interest in the establishment. When these names were exhausted, the authorities stole those of eminent deceased personages, their first attack being upon the church. Hence we have a Wickliffe, Huss, Ridley, Latimer, Laud, Sancroft, Tillotson, Tennison, Sherlock, &c. Then come the mighty dead of the poetical race, viz. Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakspeare, John Milton, &c. Of the philosophers, Francis Bacon stands pre-eminently conspicuous. As they proceeded, the governors who were warlike in their notions, brought from their graves Philip Sidney, Francis Drake, Oliver Cromwell, John Hampden, Admiral Benbow, and Cloudesley Shovel. A more peaceful list followed this, viz. Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Vandyke, Michael Angelo, and Godfrey Kneller, William Hogarth and Jane his wife, of course, not being forgotten. Another class was borrowed from popular novels of the day, which accounts for Charles Allworthy, Tom Jones, Sophia Western, and Clarissa Harlowe. The gentle Izaak Walton stands alone. So long as the admission of children was confined within reasonable bounds it was an easy matter to find names for them; but during the parliamentary era' of the Hospital, when its gates were thrown open to all comers, and each day brought its regiment of infantry to the establishment, the governors were sometimes in difficulties; and when this was the case they took a zoological view of the subject, and named them after the creeping things and beasts of the earth, or created a nomenclature from various handicrafts or trades. In 1801, the hero of the Nile, and some of his friends, honoured the establishment with a visit, and stood sponsors to several of the children.
The names given on this occasion were, Baltic Nelson, William and Emma Hamilton, Hyde Parker, &c. Up to a very late period the governors were sometimes in the habit of naming the children after themselves or their friends; but it was found to be an inconvenient and objectionable course, inasmuch as when they grew to man or womanhood they were apt to lay claim to some affinity of blood with their nomenclators. The present practice, therefore, is for the treasurer to prepare a list of ordinary names, by which the children are baptized.”
OF SURNAMES WHICH CANNOT BE REFERRED TO ANY OF
THE PRECEDING CLASSES.
“ Sunt bona-sunt quædam mediocria—sunt mala plura.”—MARTIAL.
LTHOUGH we have discussed
family nomenclature somewhat multifariously, and have said little or much, as each subject demanded, upon surnames, geographical, topographical,
professional, officialcharacteristic, prænominical, heraldrical, emblematical or signal, social or relational, chronal, opprobrious, dramatic, sobriquetical, adjurational, and historical, there yet remain many names which scarcely any amount of ingenuity would enable one to interweave into those classes. I shall therefore merely indicate them, without attempting to explain their origin, or theorize upon their application. This part of the subject doubtless has its rationale as well as the foregoing, but it lies beyond my reach.
One family of names which thus baffles even conjecture is that which represents Coins and denominations of Money, as Farthing, Halfpenny, Penny, Twopenny, Thickpenny, Moneypenny, Manypenny, Penny