Local history, History, Names, Photographs and the Workhouse

Local History GENUKIs county pages provide a good start at local resources and Local History Magazine links to local history societies.
For the Literature, History and Culture of the Victorian age, The Victorian Web

A2A For access to archives throughout England,


When did surnames first appear? and why?
1088.  From the Domesday Book for Sussex
Osbern son of Godfrey, Countess Goda, Aelfeva a free women, Walter son of Lambert, 9 villagers with 5 ploughs, King Edward, Earl Harold, Doda the priest, William of Warrenne .
1296 Subsidy Roll Sussex Bramber.  Robor le Monek, Johane de Boys, Rogo de Ecclesia, Willmo Chaloner, Martino atte Wyke.
1327 Sussex Subsidy Roll Bramber.  Galfro Griffin, Willo le Baker, Johe le Ropere, Rogo de Stratton, Walto Prest, Johe de Kent.
1332 Sussex Subsidy Roll Bramber
Agn' Griffin, Robto le Baker
1524 - 5 Sussex Subsidy Roll Bramber 
John Porter, Thomas Tyse, Robert a Wode, Harry Smyth, John Swyfte, Thomas Baldyng

The consensus is that by 1400 everybody had a hereditary surname in Sussex.

Spelling of surnames only became standardised by the end of the C19 and then only since 1948.

Surname meanings in there somewhere

Surname meanings guide  - bit of a rag bag, beware the 'pop ups' 

Surname Variants

Coats of Arms


Surnames in use (2002)

Forenames After the Norman conquest the majority of the old Saxon names became extinct to be replaced by Norman importations
C12 & C13 old Testament names appear.
With the Reformation obscure biblical names appear.
The C16 saw the introduction of a number of classical names and the C18 the Latin form was used for women's names.
The late C18 saw the revival of old English or Medieval names. More...

Meaning of forenames


Forename  Variants
Behind the name

  • To ensure an inheritance for a son if his widowed mother should remarry
  • To show a change of residence
  • To show the lineage of a family
  • To prevent a surname disappearing.
Photographs 1837.  Daguerrotype.
Produced a negative image on metal.  long exposure, no copies possible.
1841.  Fox-Talbot.  Calotypes use negative/positive process
1851. Scott-Archer'Wet collodion process.  Cheap and easy to use.
1853 3 million Daguerrotypes produced annually in USA
1861 Maxwell.  Colour photography
1871 Dry plates invented.
1888 Celluloid film invented.
1890 The 'snapshot' arrives!

Victorian Photos

Cyndi's List Photographs

The Costume Gallery

The Workhouse Workhouses (to supply indoor relief) were designed in as repulsive a way as possible, in order to put people off from applying for help.
They were set up by unions of six or so parishes, under the New Poor Law of 1834.
The Poor Law Unions continued until 1930 and the workhouses to 1948.
The Workhouse

Essays and Pictures from
'A Web of English History'

In the Workhouse: Christmas Day

Links checked November 2010
copyright Peter Cox 2003