Names that catch my attention (1)

Whenever I see a surname that is new to me, and whose meaning is not obvious, I try to find something out about it.
A couple of names that I encountered for the first time recently are Plint and Rudrum.
Although Rudrum looked strange at first it didn’t take long to work out that it was likely to derive from the place name Rotherham.
Sure enough a quick look in Reaney and Wilson’s “Dictionary of English Surnames” listed Rudrum under “Rotheram, et al., though no example of this spelling from the records was cited. Ekwall’s “Dictionary of English Place-Names, lists Roderham as a thirteenth century spelling of the place name. He also points out that Rotherham stands on the River Rother, which lasts he explains as Brythonic and meaning something like “chief river”.

The meaning of Plint is less obvious, but a map showing the distribution of the name showed that, though rare, it was best represented in Cornwall. A search of available literature on Cornish surnames yielded nothing, but a search online for a place of that name gave a clue. There is no Plint, but there is a village called Pelynt, pronounced Plint. Thirteenth century spellings of the name were Plenint and Plenent, and a suggested meaning is “parish of Nent” or Saint Nonna (Ekwall).


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