Medieval Surnames

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Medieval surnames had a far more important meaning attached to them in Medieval England than perhaps they do now when we effectively inherit our surname. Medieval names usually meant something and below are some of the more common surnames found in Medieval England and their meaning.

Ashdown Dweller on ash-tree hill
Baker Maker of bread
Bennett blessed
Bigge Big and Strong
Brickenden Maker of bricks
Brooker Dweller by the brook
Browne Brown haired or dark skinned
Carpenter Maker of wooden objects
Cheeseman Maker of cheese
Clarke Scholar, cleric or secretary
Cooper Wooden bucket maker
Fletcher Maker of arrows
Foreman Looks after pigs
Godfrey God-peace
Gregory Watchful
Hughes Son of Hugh
Mannering Manly
Nash Dweller by the ash tree
Payne Pagan
Rolfe Peasant
Taylor Maker of clothes
Walter Dweller by water
Ward Guardian or watchman
Webb Weaver
Wood Dweller by the wood
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