Toponyms “Locative surnames are amongst the oldest hereditary surnames, some dating back to the twelfth century or even the eleventh, and many more to the thirteenth. Most sources which list any appreciable number of people in England during the twelfth century will show that the majority of surnames or by-names then in use were locative. In some instances place-names have undergone such great changes since the twelfth and thirteenth centuries as to make identification of derived surnames very difficult.” (McKinley, HBS, p54) Note: there is some dispute as to whether this category should be termed locative or toponymic. The use of locative as applied to names has been criticised by anthroponomists and linguists, consequently the ESS now use the latter term for this category. But toponymic has also previously been used as a cover-all for any name derived from a location or landscape feature. And the term locative is still being used in this context by some eminent surname researchers, following in the footsteps of McKinley. Terribly confusing! Identification difficulties Placename has changed, but surname has retained original placename spelling. Placename consistent, but toponymic surname has altered (through migration. Multiple places of the same name e.g. Ashby, Burton, Drayton, Norton. Placename no longer exists e.g. deserted villages, enclosure depopulation. Specific sub-classes 1. Tight proliferation A feature of some toponymic surnames is the way that they proliferated to a great extent, mainly in the 15th and 16th centuries, whilst retaining a tightly constricted distribution. This is notable of toponymic surnames in south east Lancashire, the Yorkshire dales and woollen districts of the same county. The tight concentrations around the place-name origin tentatively suggests that many (most?) have single-ancestor origins or some inter-kinship links. Lancashire examples: Bardsley, Barlow, Butterworth, Clegg, Crompton, Heaton, Heywood, Lomas, Mellor, Wrigley. Yorkshire examples: Ackroyd, Armitage, Horsfall, Illingworth, Lockwood, Murgatroyd, Sutcliffe, etc. But the names that proliferate are only a minority of surnames in the region and they seem to be the names of those of moderate wealth. And to have developed into several different branches by 1400. (Paraphrased from McKinley, HBS, pp60-66.) 2. Dispersed proliferation The surname Pickering is an example of a name that is found in many parts of the country very early on, often by 1400, whereas one would expect it to have a concentration just in Yorkshire and neighbouring counties. A similarly dispersed name is Duffield. Both these names became widespread in England in the Middle Ages. Other examples: Seagrove, Inkpen (Names that are widely-distributed because they derive from differing counties that have same placenames e.g. Ashby, Norton etc., have been excluded.) (Paraphrased from McKinley, HBS, pp66-70.) 3. Dispersed/Nucleated settlement Areas of dispersed settlement are associated with higher proportions of toponymic and topographic surnames than areas of nucleated settlement. That said, some areas of dispersed settlement (e.g. Yorkshire) produced more toponyms whilst others (e.g. Sussex) produced more topographic surnames. It is usually agreed that areas of dispersed settlement produce toponyms in excess of 20% of all the surnames in that area, whilst topographic surnames will be less than 20%. For example in Devon in 1322,a classically dispersed settlement landscape, toponyms make up 34% and topographs 15% of all the surnames in the county.