A surname puzzle from Cornwall

A recent enquiry about a surname deserves a wider audience. The name in question is Odiorne, one previously unknown to me. In the 1544 lay subsidies there was a William Odyhorne living in the small coastal parish of Sheviock. From 1589 onwards the surname appeared regularly in parish registers, dispersing from Sheviock, which looks to be the origin of the name in Cornwall. It was spelt various ways, first mainly as Odyhorne or Odihorne, then as Odyorne or Odiorne.

The last register entry I can find was in 1730. Then the name mysteriously disappears. No-one of this name or anything similar can be found either in marriage registers of the mid-1700s or the 1861 Census. A map of surname distributions in 2014 reveals just one Odiorne in the UK (not in Cornwall), although there were over several hundred in the States.

The disappearance of the name is made more puzzling by the fact that it was not that uncommon in south-east Cornwall between 1600 and 1730. And what does it mean? Is it from a placename, the element odi or odda being found in some English placenames? And what about the intriguing similarity with the placename Audierne in western Brittany? Any suggestions or further information?

One thought on “A surname puzzle from Cornwall

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.