Names that catch my attention (2)

BASGALLOP I came across this name in an interview with the actor David Threlfall. The actor’s latest TV appearance is in a series written by one Tony Basgallop.
What sort of a name is this? I wondered.
Dictionaries gave no clue. I could find nothing in the surname websites on line, apart from the fact that the name is concentrated in Somerset.
So a further search combining the surname with the county name was made, which led to this website –
There was a an enquiry about the Italian surname Bacigalupo. The writer tells of his ancestor from Liguria settling in Somerset where his surname became Basgallop. I see no reason to disbelieve this account, and can imagine that the pronunciation of the strange name became bassi-gallop-o, and was eventually shortened and made more manageable for English speakers.

An Italian surname site informs us that Bacigalupo is a surname of Genoa, which is in the Liguria region. The lupo part of the name is the Italian for ‘wolf’, the meaning of baciga is less clear. One possibility is that it is from an old Ligurian dialect word meaning ‘to beat with a club or stick’. So Bacigalupo could be a nickname meaning ‘beat wolf’, perhaps recalling some incident in the original bearer’s life.


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