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Origin of the Surname "English"
 
Various Sources
 
 
Origin of the Surname "English"
 
In Europe until about 1100 A.D., most people had only one name. As populations grew and became congregated into towns and cities, it became awkward to have many people with the same name. Gradually, some additional identification was add (e. G. , a descriptor that identified that particular individual, such as an occupation, a physical characteristic, a location of geographical significance, or a family relationship). Thus, "John" might become John Carpenter, John Small, John Hill, or John Johnson. the name "English" very likely had some reference to the nationality or location.

There is no way to determine the exact origin of the surname "English" but there is a record in the Domesday Survey of "Angli", denoting a group of Saxons who were differentiated from the Welsh people in the area. The ancient records of England (known as the "Hundred Rolls") refer to a Walter Le Engleis. The "Calendorium Inquisitorium Post Mortem" has a record of a Richard Le Engleys. Some of the early writs of Parliament contain the name of John Le Englisshe. The name "English" became "Inglis" when transplanted into Scotland, where it appeared in 1296. Walter de Inglis, John de Inglis, and Phillip de Inglis are mentions as men of rank and property. A John Le Englieys is reported in the Parish of Lench in Worcestershire in 1327. Irish variants of the name were "Ainglishe" or "Englishe" and were common in Tipperary. The Scottish "Inglis" is probably the chief root name for "English."

… In the early 17th Century, many Scotsmen were driven out of Scotland by a depressed agricultural economy, and by the greed of aristocrats and landlords who wanted sheep on their land instead of peasants. Ireland was nearby and offered new farming opportunities. Many of these transplanted Scotsmen went on to newer opportunities in America after a few generations.

Note: The unrest in Northern Ireland today has its roots in the 17th Century relocation of Scottish Presbyterians into Catholic Ireland…


[sent by Patsy English and Judy Bentley. Source: excerpted from an informal history by William J. English; Wildwood, PA]

 
 
English -: from OE: Englisc.
 
The word had originally distinguished Angles from Saxons & other GMC peoples in the Brit. Isles, but by the time surnames were being acquired it no longer had this meaning. It's frequency as an Eng. surname is somewhat surprising. It may have been commonly used in the early Middle Ages as a distinguishing epithet for an Anglo-Saxon in areas where the culture was not predominantly English -for Ex. the Danelaw area, Scotland, and parts of Whales - or as a distinguishing name after 1066 for non-Norman in the regions of most intensive Norman settlement. However, explicit evidence for these assumptions is lacking- and at the present day the surname is fairly evenly distributed throughout the country.

[Source: 'Dictionary of Surnames' by Patrick Hanks & Flavia Hodges, 1988; Oxford University Press]

 
 
ENGLISH ,England (Mac) GALLOGLY, Inglis
 
There are a considerable number of families called English belonging to Munster and Ulsier. The former, located mainly in counties Tipperary and Limerick. Of English extraction going back to the twelfth century, but are as completely hibernicized as their Norman comrades of the invasion - and may well have been themselves of Norman origin.

In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the name is found as L'Englys, L'Angleys, Lenglais etc. There were landowners so called in counties Dublin and Louth and also in several counties of Munster. References to the name in Leinster continue to be fairly frequent up to the middle of the seventeenth century: mainly scanty information such as the plundering in 1428 of the convent of Fore, of which William Englonde was prior; the outlawry of James English, Co. Wicklow, 1450; Elizabethan pardons; or the appointment of John Englishe alias Ynglysshe as Abbot of Bective at the date of the suppression of the monastery in 1536. By then they were much more closely identified with Munster, as they are today. There was already an Englishtown in Co. Limerick, also called Ballyengland, showing that it was formed from the surname, England is a rare synonym of English. The majority of the many references to the name in the sixteenth century Fiants are to people living in Munster. The Carew calendar names English of Cloghemenecode and English of Rahine among the principal gentlemen of Co. Tipperary in 1600.

In mediaeval times the name appeared less frequently in Ulster, as English. There English is a mistranslation of the Irish surname Mac an Gallóglaigh (son of the galloglass) is also properly anglicized as MacGallogly or Gallogly also as Ingoldsby and Golightly. This is a sept of Co. Donegal origin. The three forms English, lngoldsby and Gallogly are all to be found today in Co. Monaghan. In 1458 a MacGillogly appeared as one of the older residents of Balmartin, Co. Meath.

Distinguished people of the name English or England: Father William English (d. 1778), a Limerick man associated with Co. Cork, was one of the best of the eighteenth century Gaelic poets. Rev. Thomas England P.P. (1790-1847), the biographer, and his brother Dr. John England (1786-1842), one of America's most illustrious bishops, were born in Cork; while Richard England (1750-1812) and his son Sir Richard England, both notable soldiers, were Claremen. The Inglis family, two of whom were Protestant bishops of Nova Scotia, and one, Sir John Inglis, the defender of Lucknow, were from Co. Donegal.

[submitted by JoAnne Wise]

 
An interpretation of surname -English
 
The name English in Ireland is of Norman origin having been brought to the country in the thirteenth century by the l'Angleis family who established the Aingleis Sept along Gaelic lines. County Limerick was the main settlement point. Variants include Englishby, Ingoldsby and even Gallogly.
 
 
The Origin of Irish Family Names
 
It is a help when tracing your family history to know something about the origin of and evolution of Irish names and particularly how names have changed over the centuries.

Early times: In ancient Ireland the population was much smaller than today and the mass movement of people was uncommon. It was usual therefore for a person to be known only by one name: Niall, Eoin, Art, etc. Once there was no one else in the locality with the same name then this was not a problem.

The Gaelic Clann system was well established and this gave people a common identity with their people of the tribe and with the commonly shared area. This single name system began to break down during the eleventh century as the population was growing and there was a need for a further means of identification. The solution was to adopt a prefix such as Mac (Mc is an abreviation) or Ó. Mac means 'son of' whilst Ó mean 'grandson of'. Mac surnames are generally of a much later date than Ó. The vast majority of Gaelic Irish surnames were created during the eleventh and twelfth centuries.

It should be noted that the Scottish Gaels were actually descendants of Gaelic emigrants to Scotland. The word 'Scotus' is Latin for 'Irishman'. Scottish settlers who moved to Ireland (and especially Ulster) may already have been of Gaelic Irish descent.

Septs: The Clans eventually broke up into a number of distinct septs or groups. These groups were headed by an original member of the clan and dominated a particular part of the countryside. It was not uncommon for septs from the same clan to be found in completely different parts of the country (O'Connor for example) so it is important when researching your roots to try to find out the original part of the country that your ancestors came from as this may be a completely different area from that where the 'major' sept was domicile.

The sept system was an integral part of Gaelic society and survived and was even propagated by the Norman invaders. The system did not survive the English invasion and colonisation of the seventeenth century however, and it became a disadvantage to have a Gaelic sounding name.

Anglicization: The Penal laws that were enforced by the colonists attempted to completely subjugate the Gaelic way of life. It is about this time then, that many Gaelic names changed to their Anglo equivalent or translation. This can cause confusion as many of the names were misinterpreted or misspelled. The name McEaneny for example has a number of variants including McAneny and Bird (the Irish word for bird is éan). Mac an Thomáis was converted to Holmes, Mac Giolla Íosa to MacAleese, etc. The conversion of names beginning with Mac and Mc was even more difficult because the removal of the M sound from the name often completely changed the sound of the name.

The revival of Gaelic consciousness in the later eighteen hundreds saw many Irish families reassume the Mac, Mc, Ó or other Irish form of their names although this was reduced in a number of cases depending on the sound of the name (Kelly is still much more prevalent than O'Kelly, Murphy more prevalent than O'Murphy, etc.)

Surnames today: There are many different origins for Irish names today but the vast majority can be broken down into either of three categories:
Gaelic Irish, Cambro-Norman, and finally Anglo-Irish.

 
Rootsweb Message Board Post: [posted: 1 Dec 2002]
 
According to "A Dictionary of Surnames" by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges, ENGLIS is the Scottish version of ENGLISH. If your ancestor was Scot. he may have deliberately chosen that version. [posted: 1 Dec 2002]

     
     
     
 
 
 
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