More early Cornish surname geographies

Barkle in the 1500s was a mid-Cornwall surname. Look out for a coming map of the associated name Bartle in this same period. Or does the spelling Barkla suggest an origin in Barclay? Barnicoat was more widely spread, its geography perhaps suggesting a sea-borne route from its Devonian origins. Barrett was common across mid and east Cornwall in those days but rarer in the Cornish-speaking west.

And some news on the surname front. Work proceeds in fits and starts on a list of the most frequent surnames in each Cornish parish in 1641/42, based on the Protestation returns. This will be in the same format as the ever-popular page 18th century surnames by parish and will be coming soon.

3 thoughts on “More early Cornish surname geographies

  1. I look forward to every post, and am grateful to you! Have you found anything about my maiden name Guynup? There are Gwennaps in Cornwall , too, pronounced the same.
    I’ve read somewhere that the latter spelling is a feminine version. I’ve met Gwennaps who said it was originally a Welsh name. My grandmother said it meant “cottage in the woods,” but who knows?
    Cornwall is so full of wonderful things.


    1. The early distribution of the surname Gwennap suggests it came from the placename Gwennap in West Penwith. To confuse matters that name had been taken from the parish of Gwennap, 30 miles or so to the east, Gwennap is a female saint’s name, possibly the same as Wynup, one of the 24 offspring of a king in south Wales according to legend.


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