Sunday, November 04, 2007

Question from Cat - Lower-class Tudor surnames

Hi, I'm a year 4 teacher and we are about to start our history topic about famous Tudors and Tudor life. I want to give my children a Tudor name and job and base some role play/drama around this and was wondering if anyone can give me any good surnames that were common during this time?? I'm going to do a mixture of upper and lower class - I've got some famous Tudor names for the upper class characters, but am a bit stuck with names for the lower classes! I need about 8 names.
Thanks f


  1. My daughter and I have been researching our family history (like countless others)and have got back to 1542 when our ancester Henry Spackman was born in Wiltshire.

    His son, Ambrose Spackman, was born in 1585 and his occupation is listed as a Yeoman.

    The other children all appear to be Farm Labourers.

    Hope this helps

  2. I do wish the previous contributor had not been anonymous, as I too have Henry and Ambrose Spackman in my family tree! They seem to have been a well established family in Wiltshire.

    I hope your class went well :)

  3. Tudors were named after their trades and so it's very easy to know the surnames of ordinary people: 'Fletcher' is a common English surname and it means maker of the feathered part of an arrow. Another common name is 'Cooper' which is a barrel maker. Chandler is a candle maker.

    My own maiden name (Pre-married English surname name) was 'Keep' which is part of a castle. Then there is the obvious 'Baker' and 'Butcher'. Look up Tudor trades and there is your answer.

    Some common surnames come from the village or place where the family originated from for example my married name 'Harris' is from a small island in Scotland. The isle of Harris.

    Then there are surnames like 'Johnson' which literally means 'John's son.' A similar name is Peterson.


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