The study of the origin and meaning of names, especially of surnames, is a fascinating one, for it is a well-known fact that nearly every surname in the human nomenclature has some significance. There are surnames curious in spelling and in sound, others strange and surprising in derivation and in meaning, and some remarkable in all these respects; and in tracing these surnames back to their sources a strong light is often thrown on many old customs and forgotten usages of the past. Curious, indeed, are the histories of many of our surnames, and Christian names, too. Thus the very plebeian name of Snooks was once known as Sevenoaks; Doolittle and Toogood are Americanizations of the Huguenot-French names De L'Hotel and Turgeaud, while Howard is derived from Hog-ward, a swineherd. The familiar Walker, Tucker and Fuller were all engaged in cloth factories - the first treading out the cloth as it issued from the mill, the second storing it, and the last professing to clean it. The name Chaucer indicates the humble calling of whitening (chalking) leather breeches, while Thackeray's ancestors carried on the useful craft of thatching the roofs of cottages.
At first individuals had only single names. These names were sufficient until by natural increase people became aggregated in communities, and then several persons would be found bearing the same name. Hence arose the need of some additional means of designation.
Surnames did not exist in England before the time of William the Conqueror (A.D. 1066-87); and they did not become generally hereditary until the thirteenth century. To establish them all kinds of methods were employed. Occupations, names of localities, and peculiarities of person, manner and character were all turned to account in order to supply a varied stock of names. A whole essay might be written on the subject of surnames derived from offices and trades, while the names derived from physical and mental peculiarities are so numerous that it is almost impossible to classify them. Perhaps the simplest and most direct growth of surnames arose from the practice of adding the fathers name to that of the person described. Thus one John in a community would be known as the son of Thomas, and another John as the son of James; or in other words, John, Thomas' son and John James' son. Then the steps were easy to John Thomson and John Jameson. So John the son of Dick (Richard) came to be known as John Dickson or Dixon, and William the son of Jack (John) as William Jackson.* The prefixes Fitz (Norman French fiz, from Latin filins = son) and de (Latin and French = from, or down from) were similarly used; as Henry Fitz Hervey, or Henry the son of Hervey, and Herve' de Leon, or Harvey of Lyons.*
If there is any meaning hidden-away in the name-word HERVEY or HARVEY, or if there is any significance attached to its application to the first individuals who bore it, diligent investigation by the writer has failed to discover the facts. There is no doubt that the word is Norman, † and that its first use was not as patronymic. The name has been indiscriminately and variously spelled Hervey, Hervy, Harvye, Harvie, Harvy and Harvey, in England, Ireland and America; but since about 1800 the form has been, with few exceptions, Harvey.
"Surnames are merely parts of general language, and they are generally subject to all those influences which affect language itself so materially. Surnames like other terms are liable to dialectical variation and to changes of every description. The vowels gradually change from broad to slender, and the reverse. Their consonants become replaced by other consonants. Sometimes pronunciation abbreviates them; at others it reverses the process and adds letters, or even syllables." With regard to the irregular spelling of names Mr. Lower, in his work on English surnames, remarks: "I have little doubt that what we now regard as irregularities in the orthography of our ancestors were by them considered ornamental 0 a species of taste somewhat akin to the fastidiousness in modern composition which as studiously rejects the repetition of words and phrases." "This view of the subject, " says a reviewer, "only will account for the various spelling surnames in early times. The same individual has been known to spell his name differently at different times and, in some cases, this must have been done intentionally." The writer of this has seen the same surname spelled two or three different ways on the same page of an ancient record or document.-
* An English writer has framed a list of thirty surnames derived from William.
† Macauley, Breeman, Froude and other English historians agree in testifying that the Normans were of those few races of men whose extraordinary mental and physical energies have exercised a profound and enduring influence over the world. They were a race of the same class as the Greek, the Roman or the Saracen, whose actions fill the pages of history, and will remain engraved on the memory of man as long as humanity itself endures.
The Norman race became seated in England in the eleventh century. It had become a matter of imperative necessity for Normandy to find some new outlet for its excessive population. This outlet was found in the conquest of England, completed in 1070, by William of Normandy; and thither accordingly rushed, in one vast tide of immigration, gentle and simple: Baron and feudal tenant. Seven centuries have elapsed since the world has known the Normans in England under the form of a separate and distinct nationality. They have been for that space of time inextricably blended with other races in England. From the twelfth century distinctions of race in that country entirely disappear from the surface of history.
Geoffry III., Viscount of Bourges (Bituricensis), a very ancient city of Berri, a former province of France, rebuilt the Abbey of St. Ambrose, Bourges, A.D. 1012, and in 1037 was at war with the Lord of Chateau-Raoul. One of Geoffry's grandsons, Herveus de Bourges (Anglicized, Hervey of Bourges), accompanied William the Conqueror to England, and , as shown by the Doomsday Book, held in 1086 a great barony in Suffolk. His son Henry Fitz-Hervey (Henry the son of Hervey) witnessed a charter of Roger de Clare (Monasticon Anglicanum, I.: 731).
In the reigns of Richard I and John, of England (1189-1216), Osbert Fitz-Hervey was one of the King's justiciaries.
According to the Great Rolls of the Norman Exchequer William Herveus was in 1198 a landholder in Normandy. In 1199 he had emigrated to Surrey in England. It is said that at this time "probably several families of different origin bore the name, which had been Anglicized into Harvey and Harvie."
Amongst the Anglo-Normans who went over to Ireland from England in 1171 under "Strongbow" (Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke), was Herve de Leon, or de Monte Marisco. He was a descendant of Robert Fitz-Harvey, or de Herve', a valiant soldier who came to England with William the Conqueror, as appears by the chronicles of Normandy and England. Without doubt Herve' de Monte Marisco, or Harvey of Montmarsh, was the progenitor of the old and prominent families of Harvey, Harvy and Harvie which have long flourished on the Emerald Isle.
Henry, a son of Harvey of Montmarsh, remained in England and was in the wars with King Richard I. During the succeeding reign of King John he was held in much esteem by that monarch, as appears by the royal grant to him of the forestership of New Forest, Achilles Garth and other lands beyond the river Trent about the year 1203. [See Burke's "History of the Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland, " IV::507.]
From this Henry descended John Hervey of Risley in Bedfordshire, who was elected Knight of the Shire for the county of Bedford in 1386. The moated site of an ancient castle still remains at Thurleigh, in that county, which tradition assigns as the sometime residence of this John Hervey. In 1402 he was enabled by a license from King Henry, IV, to found a collegiate church at Northill. He had two sons, John, his heir, and Peter, from who descended the Northamptonshire Harveys - of which line was Sir Francis Harvey, Judge of the Common Pleas in the reign of James I. From the elder son and heir, John Hervey of Thurleigh, lineally descended the Marquises of Bristol and Baronets of Bathurst, * as well as the Harveys of Cole Park in the county of Wilts.
Of this latter family Robert Harvey was married about 1637 to Sarah ------- of Cole Park. The issue of this marriage was Audley (a cavalier in the reign of Charles I.), John and Hugh. Hugh inherited Cole Park and had issue John (b.1668; d 27 Feb. 1712). The following is from the inscription on the latter's monument in Malmsbury Abbey: "Sub hoc marmore reponuntur excuvia mortales Johannis Harvey de Cole Park.* * * Nati Cantabrigia de familia ejusdem nominis in agro Bedfordienst, non minus antiqua quam honorabili." * *
Prior to the reign of Henry VIII. (which began A.D. 1509) several families bearing the name Harvey, and said to be descended from a common ancestor, were settled in Somersetshire, † England; in which county at that time many manors were held (according to Doomsday Book) under and by virtue of grants made by William the Conqueror to his brother Robert Earl of Morton, and to others of the King's Norman followers. [See "The History and Antiquities of the County of Somerset, " by the Rev. John Collinson, Bath, 1791.]
"By an inquisition taken at Langport 17 Oct., 1529, it appeared that Richard (b. about 1480), the son and heir of HUMPREY HARVEY , d. 4 Jan., 1526, seized of one-third of the manor of Brockley ( a small parish of Somersetshire, nine miles S.W. of the city of Bristol), 5 messuages, 1 cottage, 1 windmill, 1 dove-house, 5 gardens, 23 acres of arable, 15 of meadow, 88 acres of wood, and ten pence rent in Brockley, together with the advowson of the church --which premises were certified to be holden of the King as of his barony of Wigmore by knight's service. Nicholas Harvey, son and heir of Richard of Brockley, was then (1526) of the age of eleven years. * * *
"In the chancel floor of the church [which is dedicated to St. Nicholas, and is a small structure with a plain embattled tower containing one bell] there is this memorial: 'Here lieth the body of Judith, younger daughter of Nicholas Harvey, Esq., of this parish, who died the 29th Dec., 1652, aged 18 years.' * * * The arms of Harvey of Brockley were, Sable, a fesse or, between tree squirrels sejant argent, cracking nuts or. Crest, a squirrel sejant argent, tail or, cracking a nut of the last." [ See Collinson's "Somerset," II.: 120.]
* In the "History of Nottingham, New Hampshire," by the Rev. F. C. Cogswell (1878), it is stated on page 209: "Tradition says that all the Harveys in the United States descended from the Earl of Bristol in England, whose name was Harvey. His son came to this country, with other young noblemen, and purchased a tract of land embracing Taunton and Rehoboth, in Massachusetts. This young Harvey married an American girl, and so was disinherited by his aristocratic father in England." This statement was based by the author, without doubt, on some very airy fairy-tale which he had heard. Had he examined certain published records, well known and easily accessible, he would have learned that John Hervey, M.P., of Ickworth, co. Suffolk, was married first in 1687 (over fifty years after the advent in this country of William and Thomas Harvey of Taunton), was elevated to the peerage as Baron Hervey in 1703, and 19 Oct. 1714 was created (6rst) Earl of Bristol. It is possible, or may be true in fact, that the remote ancestors of John Hervey, the first Earl of Bristol, and Thomas Harvey of Somersetshire (the father of William and Thomas Harvey of Taunton, Mass.) were identical; but it is doubtful if there is any evidence in existence to prove the fact. † SOMERSET is an important maritime county in the south-west of England. In length it is about eighty miles, and in breadth thirty-six, and has an area of 1640 square miles. Its population in 1891 was 484,336 souls. The principal cities and towns of the county are Bath, Wells, Taunton and Bridgwater. Somerset was the last home of Saxon freedom when Alfred took refuge at Athelmey, defended by trackless marshes. In the wars of the Roses Somerset was in the main Lancastrian. In the wars of the Commonwealth it was chiefly Parlimentarian, and the stout defense of Taunton first made famous the name of Admiral Blake. ____________________________________________________________________________ Richard Harvey of Brockley, described as "son and heir of Humphrey Harvey," was the eldest child of the later, whose youngest son was TURNER HARVEY, who was born about 1485, and, according to tradition and the "Reminiscences of the Harvey Family,"* became a noted archer and warrior.
It is recorded in these "Reminiscences," and in certain family documents, that in his time "Turner Harvey was the mightiest man with the longbow in all England, and that at this death there was no man in the country who could spring his bow." Because of his remarkable strength, his shill with the bow, and his bravery in battle, it is said that Turner became a favorite henchman of his Lord the King, Henry VIII. And it is further related that once, after a very sanguinary battle which ended in the capture by the King's soldiers of an important fortified town, Turner, who had been in the hottest places during the battle and had fought valiantly and effectively, was found to be missing by the King 'who was there in personal command of his soldiers.'
Fearing that Turner had been killed, and desiring to show due respect to his memory by giving his remains decent and honorable burial, the king caused the bodies of the dead soldiers on the field to be so placed that he might readily examine them and identify his dead favorite. But Turner was not dead, for he soon appeared with a pair of hams slung over his shoulders, he having been foraging about the town for provisions of which the troops were in great need.
The King, annoyed because of the trouble to which he had been put by supposing Turner to be dead, reproved the latter for his dereliction; but in recognition of the deeds of prowess performed on that bloody day by his chief archer, the King presented him not many days thereafter with an archer's shield or escutcheon of metal, upon the obverse of which were emblazoned three longbows, three pheons, or barbed arrow-heads, a motto in the French language -- "Faites ce que l'honneur exige" **-- and the device of a leopard holding in one of his paws three shafts, or arrows.†
This escutcheon, together with the mighty bow of Turner Harvey, prized and preserved as heirlooms, were in the possession of some of the old warrior's descendants in Somersetshire certainly as late as the year 1640.
To Turner Harvey was born about 1510 a son who was named William. He resided in Somersetshire, and was appointed 18 June, 15336, Blue-mantle Pursuivant in ordinary --a minor official of the Heralds' College. In this capacity he accompanied his patron, William (afterwards Lord) Paget, on his embassy to France. About 1545 he was appointed by Henry VIII to the office of Somerset Herald ‡ which had just been created by the King. [See Anstis' MSS. Collections, I.: 309, and Dallaway's "Heraldry," p. 88.]
** Do ye what honor demands.
† This act of the King may be considered as having been equivalent to a formal grant by the College of Heralds or by the King himself (as was his right) of armorial bearings [Relative to this matter see note on page 18].
‡ Many of the great nobility of England, before the reign of Edward III (1327), retained in their suites Heralds who bore their names and proclaimed their titles, and superintended and regulated jousts, tournaments and public ceremonials. When the bearing of coat-armor was reduced to a system its supervision became one of the functions of the Heralds, but there were no officials who by royal authority decided, as a body, respecting rights of arms and claims of descent. this exclusive privilege, however, was granted by Edward III, to the Heralds as a body, and in 1483 the Heralds' College was incorporated by Richard III. The College is presided over by the Earl Marshal (whose office is hereditary in the family of the Duke of Norfolk), and the other officers are garter, Principal King-Of-Arms; Norroy King-Of-Arms (having jurisdiction over the counties of provinces north of the River Trent); Surroy, or Clarencieux, King-Of-Arms (having charge of the provinces south of the Trent); six Heralds and four Pursuivants, or students.
INSERT WOODCUT OF WILLIAM HARVEY, CLAR: 1556
Clarencieux, King-of-Arms, 1554-67
It is said that the Heralds of early days contributed in no small degree to the literature of their age by their compositions both in prose and rhyme. They traveled into foreign countries, and saw the fashions of foreign tournaments; and as it was their duty to attend their masters in battle, they were enabled to record with fidelity the most important transactions on the field. It was customary to appoint none to this office but persons of address, discernment, experience, and some degree of education.
To ascertain and arrange bearings already used by different families was not the sole employment of the early Heralds, for they had obtained the privilege of inventing devices for those who had been newly advanced to consequence. As appears by the patent rolls the King himself sometimes interfered, and armorial bearings were conferred or taken away by royal edict. [See Dallaway's "Heraldry," p. 91.]
Genealogical documents of genuine authenticity are not confined to the archives of the Herald's College. In the British Museum and many libraries are "visitations" of counties made at different periods, some original, and others copied from the Herald's books. A visitation of each county was decreed by the Earl Marshal and confirmed by warrant under privy seal. * * * A period must arrive when the inheritors both of honors and estates are no more; and collateral claimants are to be fought. In the lapse of years, and the confusion of events, such relations become obscure, and without a regular and impartial record where could satisfactory proof be obtained. Hence visitations by the Heralds or the Kings-of-Arms, which were regularly made every twenty-five or thirty years to the various counties of England. The private gentry were so well convinced of the advantage of them that they gave every encouragement to the plan by liberal communications. By these visitations many not of noble origin, but possessed of considerable property, were brought into notice and procured entries of themselves as the founders of modern families.
In the last century a certain author amassed many thousand names with appropriate escutcheons separately described, to the majority of which no pretensions could be confirmed. Dallaway, writing in 1791, said: "It is curious to observe that many who are entirely ignorant of heraldry can produce their coat-of-arms preserved either upon furniture or seals, without being able to give any account by whom or at what time, they were first invented or assumed. Such being well satisfied with the arms they bear, as being beyond their memory and serving all purposes of distinction, are inclined to disparage the legal grant, and to contend against its exclusive sanction."
The earliest recorded "visitation" made to Somersetshire was in 1531, by Thomas Benoilt, Clarencieux King-Of- Arms. This was previous to the appointment of William Harvey as Somerset Herald, and, without doubt, prior to the presentation of King Henry to Turner Harvey of the escutcheon bearing the heraldic devices heretofore mentioned.
The next recorded "visitation" to Somersetshire was by Robert Cook, Clar.K.-of-A., in 1573, at which time William Harvey, late Clarencieus, was dead, and Turner Harvey, his father, was either dead or near death's door. For these reasons, therefore, it is believed that the armorial bearings of Turner Harvey, as heretofore described, were never recorded at the Heralds' College.
4 Feb., 1550, William Harvey was appointed by Edward VI, Norroy King-of-Arms, and while holding this office he paid seven official visits to Germany. 7 June 1557, Queen Mary deputed him to go to France to declare war; and 21 Nov., 1557, he was appointed by the Queen Clarencieux King-of-Arms -- the duties of which office he performed until his death.* This occurred in Oxfordshire 27 Feb, 1567, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He was survived by several children, one of whom was William Harvey, born in Somerset about 1560.
This last-mentioned William was residing in 1630 in Bridgwater. This town (anciently Brugia, Brugie, etc.) is a municipal borough and seaport town of Somersetshire, situated on both banks of the Parret River, twenty-nine miles S. W. of Bristol and eleven miles N.W. of Taunton. William the Conqueror granted the manor to one Walter de Douay, and its name thereupon became Burgh-Walter, of which Bridgwater is a mere corruption. According to Collinson's "Somerset" (III ::75-82) "the place has been very large and populous, but frequently diminished by conflagrations and other causes. Leland, who visited about the year 1538, informs us that in the memory of people then living there had fallen to ruin and fore-decay upwards of 200 houses.
"The arms of the town, as expressed on a town piece dated 1666, consisted of a castle with three towers standing on a bridge over a river. The remains of a castle to which these arms bear allusion stand  on the west side of the quay. Originally the castle was a very large and noble structure, the government whereof was always vested in persons of the highest eminence and distinction." It was build about the year 1202 by William Briwere, who also began the foundations of the bridge over the Parret, and made the haven; both of which were completed in the time of Edward I (1272-1307) by Sir Thomas Trivet.
William Briwere, after many benefactions to the town of Bridgwater, and raising it from a small to a very flourishing place, died in 1227 and was succeeded by William his son.
Many years later the manor and castle of Bridgwater having passed to the crown, King Charles I., by letters patent dated 11 July, 1626, granted the same to Sir William Whitmore, Kent, and George Whitmore, Esq., and their heirs and Assigns. In 1630 the Whitmores sold the manor and castle, and divers messuages, lands and tenements in the parishes of Haygrove, Durleigh, Chilton &c, to Henry Harvey, Esq., son of William Harvey of Bridgwater, hereinbefore mentioned (page 19).
In 1638 Henry Harvey, the proprietor, converted the old gate-house of the castle into a mansion of the form of the letter B, and five years later he leased the castle to King Charles I., who installed Col. Edmund Wyrdham as Governor. Forty guns were mounted on the walls -- which were in most parts fifteen feet thick -- and all the fortifications were regular and strong. The moat was thirty feet wide and of great depth, and every tide filled with water.
At this time the Civil War between the King and the Long Parliament was in progress. Colonel Wyndham Bravely defended the castle for a considerable time against the Parliament army under command of Sir Thomas Fairfax, till at length the eastern part of the town and several houses in the western part being fired by grenades and hot shot from garrison, and much blood being shed among the inhabitants, and their property destroyed, the castle (the greater portion of which had been almost leveled to the ground and demolished by the assaults of besiegers) was surrendered 22 July, 1645 -- thirty-eight days after the battle of Naseby, which utterly annihilated the King's cause.
The town was delivered up on the following day, and about 1,000 officers and soldiers, besides gentlemen and clergy, were made prisoners. In the town the victors captured 44 barrells of gunpowder, 1,500 arms, 44 pieces of ordnance, jewels, plate, and goods of much value which had been sent thither from all the adjacent pars of the country for security -- the Governor having declared that the castle was impregnable against all the force that could be brought against it.
Some time after the surrender of the castle Henry Harvey, its owner, prepared and presented a memorial to Parliament. From a copy of that document, preserved by the memorialist's descendants, the following extract has been made:
"MR. HARVYE'S LOSSES SUSTEYNED BY THE KING'S GOVERNOR.
"20 dwelling-howses and 30 gardens pulled downe and layed wast; Mr. Harvye's inheritance. 1 Fayre pigeon-howse, built all with stone, pulled down and layed wast. 1 barne, and 2 stables, burnt to the ground by him (the Governor) uppon storminge of the towne; land of inheritance. 150 bushels of corn burnt by him. Mr. Harvye's dwelling-howse battered by him [the Governor] uppon the storminge of the towne, that 200 pounds will hardly repayer yt as yt was before. The goods and howse-holde stuff of the castle which he ought to have restored, all lost, being worth 100 marks at the least; the profits of --------- x1. a yeare of his lands taken by vyolence from him by the governor of 2 years. 50' commanders and other soldyers quartered uppon him contrary to a noate under his owne hande. 80 1.rent due for the castle for two yeares. 15 1. lent him owte of purse. 3 thousand hogsheads of the castle lyme solde and ymployed by him. 1 fatt oxe wch he agreede to pay 9 1 for. 5 other fatt oxen apprayzed at 50 1. XXty marks debt lost to Mr. Harvye by setting at liberty one Thomas Hill, being arrested uppon a lawful process. One Thomas Pacon arrested for taking and dryvinge away 18 sheepe of Mr. Harvye's, sett at liberty by the governor and all lost." In 1791 the owner of the manor and ruined castle of Bridgwater was Robert Harvey, M.D., sometime fellow of Sidney College, Cambridge, and a descendant of Henry Harvey aforementioned.
THOMAS HARVEY, a great-grandson of Turner Harvey (page 16), and a younger brother of Henry the owner of Bridgwater manor, was born in Somersetshire about the year 1585-- which was not many years after the death of Turner, who had lived to a great age.
The home of Thomas was at Ashill (see page 29, post), a small village pleasantly situated on rising ground three miles west of Ilminster and nine miles east of Taunton in Somersetshire. The village probably derived its name from the large number of ash trees that at one time grew in that locality, which constituted part of the great forest of Neroche. In Doomsday Book the name of the place is written Aiselle, and is there said to be held by Robert Earl of Morton, being one of the many manors in Somersetshire which he obtained of his brother William the Conqueror. In 1791 the parish of Ashill contained one church, 55 houses and 320 inhabitants.
When, in the eleventh century, the Normans overran England, they began to seat themselves chiefly in Surrey, Sussex and Kent, adjoining counties in the south-easternmost corner of the conquered Isle.
As noted on page 14, there were Anglo-Norman Harveys in Surrey as early as the beginning of the thirteenth century. In Kent there were Harveys settled at Eythorne early in the fifteenth century, and later at Eastry and Cowden--all sprung from the same stock; and at about the beginning of the sixteenth century, William Harvey, son of Humphrey and brother of Turner, mentioned on page 16, was settled at Folkestone in Kent. It is quite probable that Humphrey Harvey was originally of Kent--but this cannot not be determined.
William Harvey of Folkestone, abovementioned, had a son Thomas, who had a son Thomas, (b. about 1550; d. 12 Jan, 1623), who, in the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was described as a "yeoman of Folkestone in Kent." He was married (1st) to ------- Jenkins, and (2nd) to Joane, daughter of Thomas Halke, who bore him seven sons and two daughters. The eldest of these nine children was Dr. William Harvey (b. at Folkestone 1 April, 1578); noted as the discoverer of the circulation of the blood. He was contemporaneous with Thomas Harvey of Ashill (see page 21), their fathers being second cousins. Doctor Harvey died 3 June, 1657, without issue.
Daniel Harvey, a brother of Doctor William, settled about 1651 at Combe, in Surrey, and from him, descended the Harveys of Combe-Nevile. The Harveys of Chickwell, or Chigwell, in Essex, descended from Sir Eliab Harvey (b. 1589; d. 27 Maay, 1661), a younger brother of Doctor William and Daniel. The last male heir of this line was Admiral Sir Eliab Harvey, G. C. B., of Rolls Park, Chigwell, who died in 1830.
For an interesting sketch of Dr. William Harvey and his place of sepulture --"The Harvey Chapel," at Hempstead, in Essex--prepared for this book by Mrs. Charles T. Harvey, see Part IV, post.