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What's in a Name

2 May 2012 By John Ironmonger
Casely

This interesting surname, with variant spellings Casley, Casely, Causley, Kesley, Caseley, etc., is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The component elements of the name are believed to be the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "C(e)atta", a byname meaning cat, plus "leah", an open place in a wood, clearing; hence "C(e)atta's clearing". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 16th Century (see below). Other recordings of the surname from the Yorkshire church registers include; Sarah, daughter of William and Margaret Caisley, who was christened on January 1st 1755, at Hornsey, and John Caisley married Elizabeth Weight at Foston on the Wolds, on May 14th 1788. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Steven Caslay, witness at christening, which was dated March 10th 1576, in Bilton Ainsty, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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French

This ancient surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from an ethnic name for someone from France, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "frennsee, frenche" a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "frencisc", meaning french. In some cases it may originally have been more that a nickname for someone who adopted French airs. Irish bearers of the surname are said to be descended from Theophilus de Frensche, a Norman baron who accompanied William the Conqueror in 1066, a branch of whose descendants settled in County Wexford in circa 1300. Some of the same family settled in County Roscommon in circa 1620, this was the branch that produced Field marshal Sir John French (1852 - 1925), commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Forces in the First World WAr. Over nineteen Coats of Arms were granted to French families; one granted to a family in Cranfield, Essex, is an azure shield, a gold bend, between two dolphins embowed gold, the Crest being a crescent per pale silver and gold, between the horns a fleur-de-lis counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon le Frensch, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Moore

This distinguished British surname recorded in a wide range of spellings including: More, Mores, Moor, Moores, Moors, and in Scotland Muir, has a number of possible origins. The first is a topographical name for someone who lived on a moor or in a fen, both of which were denoted by the Olde English pre 7th Century word "mor", or from one of the various villages so named such as Moore in the county of Cheshire, or More in Shropshire. Secondly it may have been a nickname for someone of dark or swarthy complexion. In this case the derivation is from the Old French "more", meaning dark-skinned. There was also a personal name of the same origin, which was borne by several early saints. The given name was introduced into England by the Normans, but was never as popular in England as on the Continent. In Ireland the surname originated as a form of the Gaelic O'Mordha, composed of the elements O', meaning descendant of, and Mordha, a byname translating as proud or stately. In Scotland and Wales the origination was as a nickname for a large man, from the Gaelic word mor or the Welsh mowr, both meaning great. The surname was first recorded in the late 11th Century (see below), and early examples of the surname recording include: William Mor, tax register known as the Feet of Fines for the county of Essex in the year 1198, and Matthew del More in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1275. One of the earliest settlers in the New World was Leonard Moore, who is recorded as "living at Elizabeth Cittee, Virginea" in 1624, having arrived on the ship "Bona Nova" in 1619. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de More. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1st of England, 1066 - 1087.

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Ironmonger

Recorded as Iremonger and Ironmonger, this is an ancient medieval English surname. It is not absolutely clear when the surname was first recorded, but John le Ironmonger of Oxford, and John Irinmongere of Huntingdon, both appear in the Hundred Rolls of their respective cities in the year 1273. Occupational surnames only usually developed into surnames when a son or perhaps a grandson, followed the father into the same work or profession. This may account for the reason why the "le" appears in the first recording, but not the second, on the other hand given that few could write their name and local dialects were very thick, it may just have been simple clerical error. As ironmongers were admitted to their own guild, this suggests that the occupation was not just a retail sales function, but probably involved actually making or at least designing whatever iron implements and tools were ultimately sold. Examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include those of Joane Ironmonger who married Henry Holden at St James church, Clerkenwell, in 1617, and in 1666, Richard Warner married Elinor Iremonger, at the same church.

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