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2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

In an attempt to explain the origin and meaning of the surname, - some people thought it was of Cornish origin because of the first two letters, I set out in the early 1980s to investigate Trudgill names in graveyards in the south of Norfolk, and then parish registers. A few years later I applied to register the name with the Guild

Variant names

In the nineteenth century censuses there were some slight variations in spelling, such as Trudgall and Trudgell. These differences largely disappeared by the end of the century. The spelling differences may indicate variations in pronunciation, Trudgall suggests a hard 'g', while Trudgell may suggest a softer 'g'.

Name origin

Historically the name appears in various counties, but usually as a 'one-event' occurrence, reverting back to the 'permanent' name subsequently. The people who bear the name currently can trace it back to one individual, William, who married in Besthorpe, Norfolk in 1742. The name recorded was Trodgell, but when their children were baptised in another parish the name was consistently Trudgill. William himself was baptisd in Redenhall with Harleston, on the Norfolk side of the border with Suffolk, in 1720. His surname was recorded as Threadgill, but two sisters who were baptised in the previous five years there were named respectively Threadgale and Thridgill.

Historical occurrences of the name

Arguably the most famous Trudgill was (Frederick) Robert Trudgill, the winning jockey in the 1924 Grand National. His mount, coincidentally was called 'Mr. Robert', and both horse and jockey are celebrated in an hotel in London which is named after Mr. Robert

Name frequency

In the 1881 census there were reported to be 67 people called Trudgill, a further 20 called Trudgell and 23 called Trudgall. Collectively they amounted to about 8 per million inhabitants in Britain. In the 1998 electoral register there were 301 called Trudgill. Since people under 17 do not appear on the register, the name had increased only very slightly as a proportion in the larger national population. In 2002 and from NHS name lists, there were 446 Trudgills in the UK. The name was then the 12,425th most common name out of nearly 270,00 surnames.

Distribution of the name

Before 1870 the only emigration of Trudgills from Norfolk and Suffolk was a single person to London, probably in the 1830s, and the marriage did not produce future bearers of the name. After 1870 small groups and single families moved to Lancashire via Stoke on Trent, to Yorkshire, to Durham and to London. After the advent of fuller education and the growth of the professions, a greater diffusion has occurred, with Trudgills found at times in a majority of counties in Britain.

Norfolk may still have the highest incidence of the name, but in recent years the highest Trudgill proportion in a population was apparently in N.E. Scotland, where there were 7 Trudgills!

There has been minimal international migration - one or two to the USA and a similar number to Canada.


Most information about Trudgills has been assembled from Parish Registers, and Civil Registration of births, marriages and deaths reinforced with evidence from census returns. Many other sources, such as probate, taxation records and newspapers, have also contributed.


Apart from many other uses of DNA information, the hope and intention is to establish a definitive Trudgill marker pattern and then compare it with patterns of similar surnames, especially from Suffolk. Progress towards the ancestors of William Threadgill/Trodgell is held up by the absence of relevant parish registers in many parishes in north Suffolk.

The project is now running, and we invite members.

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