Medieval Surnames and their Meanings

Medieval Surnames and their Meanings

In modern times, people still regularly take on their father’s name at birth and their husband’s after marriage. However, medieval surnames normally had significant meaning attached to them, making them incredibly important.

The following is a list of some of the more common medieval surnames along with their meanings:

Medieval Surnames Meanings
Ashdown Dweller on ash-tree hill
Baker Bread maker
Bennett Blessed
Bigge Big and strong
Brewer Someone who brewed beer or ale
Brickenden Brick-maker
Brooker Dweller by-the-brook
Browne Brown-haired or dark-skinned
Carpenter Maker of wooden objects
Cheeseman Cheese-maker
Clarke Cleric, Secretary or Scholar
Cooper Maker of wooden buckets
Fletcher Arrow maker
Foreman Looks after pigs
Godfrey God-peace
Gregory Watchful
Hughes Son of Hugh
Hunter Someone who hunts for wild animals
Mannering Manly
Mercer A trader of textiles, especially silk
Miller Someone who operated a mill for grinding grain
Nash Dweller by the ash tree
Payne Pagan
Rolfe Peasant
Shepherd Sheep herder and carer
Tanner Someone who prepared leather by tanning
Taylor Clothes maker
Thatcher Maker or repairer of thatched roofs
Walter Dweller by water
Ward Watchman or Guardian
Webb Weaver
Wood Dweller by the wood

See also: Medieval Names

MLA Citation/Reference

"Medieval Surnames and their Meanings". 2023. Web.