Fanfare in order. This is the first of my on-demand surname blogs, where I respond to requests for information on surnames in Cornwall that do not appear in my The Surnames of Cornwall or in any previous blog. If you’re interested in any such surname let me know and I’ll see what I can find out about its Cornish antecedents.
Tremur was a specifically Cornish second name found in the 1300s. It was given to someone who had come from or who lived at the place named Tremur, of which there were at least nine examples. This is unsurprising given that it means a big or great (in the sense of being more important) settlement. By the 1500s these Tremur places were all being spelt Tremere or Tremeere, or Treveere in parishes that had been Cornish-speaking after the 1300s.
In the 1500s a few Treveres or Trevears were found in the west but none appear the early 1600s. Meanwhile, there was a considerable number of families with names spelt Tremere/Tremear or Tremeer, apparently with multiple origins from at least five places (see map). The question is what happened to them? By the 1861 Census only three Tremeer families were still listed in the Census – at St Juliot in the north, St Ive in the south-east and Newlyn East in mid-Cornwall.
The meaning of Greenaway is also straightforward – the English green way. The heartland of this surname was the English south midlands, but it was present at Kilkhampton in the far north of Cornwall at least from the 1540s. From an early point it was spelt both Greenway and Greenaway. Until the late 1700s the principal spelling in Cornwall was Greenway but, by 1861, it had become Greenaway, which was then five times more common than Greenway. Why did this occur? Although the Greenaway name was still more frequent in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in 1881, it was much more likely to be found in Cornwall than in Devon, where Greenway remained more popular.