On 31st October Denis Harvey asked “What’s in a name?” His talk was about the origin of surnames. The earliest known names date from the oldest known records of language, firstly hieroglyphics then the inscriptions of ancient Egypt and China. In England, the Anglo-Saxons had a sophisticated system of administration and record -keeping which made the Normans’ Domesday Book much easier to compile. It, of course, recorded the names of the people who owned land and their assets which became the basis of taxation. Surnames were based on appearance, habits, occupations, place names and where people lived. Later, given names were taken from the Bible which was the commonest book available. Denis gave various examples of occupational names such as Turner, Wheeler and Wright. Nicknames were common such as Crookshanks, Armstrong, also Brown from the colour of hair. Some were vulgar such as Gotobed or Bullock. Some were seasonal, based on when a person was born, such as Summer or Winter. When the Normans distributed land after the Conquest they often took the Saxon name of the village and added the new owner’s name to it, a local example being Aston Somerville, after William de Somerville. Denis then ran through a list of members and gave likely derivations of their surnames which inevitably gave rise to some hilarity. Finally, Denis thanked the Club for his fee which he said would be paid to the James Hopkins Trust in Gloucester which provides respite care for severely disabled children. We meet at 10:00 every Thursday at The Boathouse, Evesham Rowing Club. Our speaker on 7th November is Barbara Hopper who will be “Pondering Poetically” and on 14th November we will be having our Annual Lunch at the Three Ways House Hotel, Mickleton. Full details can be found on our website www.eveshamprobus.co.uk Alan Smith