The Romance of Names

by Ernest Weekley

The interpretation of personal names has always had an attraction for the learned and others, but the first attempts to classify and explain our English surnames date, so far as my knowledge goes, from 1605. In that year Verstegan published his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, which contains chapters on both font-names and surnames, and about the same time appeared Camden's Remains Concerning Britain, in which the same subjects are treated much more fully. Both of these learned antiquaries make excellent reading, and much curious information may be gleaned from their pages, especially those of Camden, whose position as Clarencieux King-at-Arms gave him exceptional opportunities for genealogical research. From the philological point of view they are of course untrustworthy, though less so than most modern writers on the same subject.

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