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
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
[sent by Patsy English and Judy Bentley. Source: excerpted
from an informal history by William J. English; Wildwood,
English -: from OE:
|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]
(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
|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
The Origin of Irish Family
|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
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.
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]