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Names and Naming Patterns in England
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Scott Smith-Bannister

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206637

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206637.001.0001

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Personal Names and the English Poor 1570–1700

Personal Names and the English Poor 1570–1700

(p.98) 5 Personal Names and the English Poor 1570–1700
Names and Naming Patterns in England 1538–1700

Scott Smith-Bannister

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the names of the poor and the sources of those names in England in the period 1570 to 1700. It is based on two types of record: surveys or censuses of the poor and hearth tax returns for the 1660s. A cursory perusal of the lists of the most common names indicates that the names of the male poor changed little according to either time or place. The most common name for poor men between 1570 and 1699 was John. A relatively insubstantial decline in the choice of traditionally English names was exceeded by the rise in the proportion of names drawn from the Bible. This rise incorporated a fundamental change in the composition of the final total of biblical names. During the same period, the most common name for poor women was Margaret in Norwich, Anne in Ipswich and Salisbury, and Mary in Exeter. Set apart by their names, the poor were none the less united with other English men and women by the practices that determined these names.

Keywords:   England, names, poor, men, women, censuses, hearth tax returns, biblical names, common names

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