From Sexey to Stigwood – it’s all in an un­usual name

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR PICTURES -

MY men­tion last week of un­usual sur­names prompted a flurry of ac­tiv­ity.

Let’s start with a posh one. Irene, from Dids­bury, be­lieves her maiden name to be very un­com­mon. It’s Cole­cliffe.

Irene looked into the fam­ily his­tory and dis­cov­ered her great­grand­fa­ther was born in York and served in the House­hold Cav­alry.

Irene’s in­her­ited a Cole­cliffe coat of arms and a fam­ily crest but she has no fur­ther de­tails. Any more Cole­cliffes knock­ing about?

Austin Stigwood, from Old­ham, reck­ons there are only 50 Stig­woods left in the whole coun­try and five of them are in his im­me­di­ate fam­ily.

Iris Wood’s maiden name was Meats. Her grand­fa­ther Reuben Meats was told the name orig­i­nated in Ger­many and used to be Metz, which was an­gli­cised as the fam­ily ar­rived in Eng­land.

Iris has only met a cou­ple of Meats over the years and they both turned out to be rel­a­tives.

She feels the name may be dy­ing out com­pletely and would love to trace her fam­ily tree be­fore that hap­pens. How­ever Iris doesn’t have a com­puter and is un­sure of how she should go about it. If you can help, let me know and I’ll pass it on.

Brian Kay’s wife was brought up in Lim­er­ick and her sis­ter mar­ried a Lim­er­ick man called Joe Har­daker.

They are the only Har­dak­ers in the whole of the Repub­lic of Ire­land. The fam­ily moved from York­shire to Lim­er­ick around 1870 and set up in busi­ness man­u­fac­tur­ing clogs.

I touched a nerve with Paula be­cause col­lect­ing names has been a hobby of hers for many years.

She’s done loads of re­search and has sent me some which she thinks will make you chuckle.

She dug th­ese out from cen­sus in­for­ma­tion across the years. In 1891 there was a woman listed called Silly Price and in the 1901 cen­sus she found Win King, Wal Pa­per, Matt Black and Mable Able.

Paula also came across Lucy Pan­cake and a firm of so­lic­i­tors called Ar­gue & Phibbs.

The me­dieval name of Se­cey has be­come cor­rupted over the years to Sexey and in one phone book, where sur­names are listed first, Paula found SEXEY Su­san.

I can only imag­ine the con­fused calls Su­san will have re­ceived.

To fin­ish her long let­ter, Paula rec­om­mended a book of real-life, crazy Bri­tish names.

Writ­ten by Rus­sell Ash, the book’s called Potty, Fartwell & Knob. Charm­ing.

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