© J.H.Mathieson
The Cornish Landscape: In 1602 Antiquarian Richard Carew observed "By Tre Pol and Pen, shall ye know all Cornishmen". In so stating Carew was noting the role the Cornish landscape played In the etymology of Cornish surnames. By way of comparison in 1881 surnames in “Tre Pol and Pen were 12x more common in Cornwall when compared with the rest of England and Wales. Cornwall was, by virtue of its extreme south westerly location, part of the Celtic linguistic fringe. Isolated from the Anglo Saxon hegemony, and less influenced by the Norman conquest which followed, the Cornish language and customs persisted well into the 19th century and have only recently experienced a renewed interest and consciousness. It's physical and cultural isolation resisted the adoption of Norman linguistic norms, notably the widespread use of English surnames. Rather the Cornish relied more heavily on traditional naming patterns, both in patronymic forms and names derived from features of the landscape. The manor and village based economy was comparatively less developed in Cornwall than in central and southern England where the open field tradition prevailed. Rather, in many areas it was superseded by isolated farmsteads and hamlets. Conditioned by it’s geology, with it’s ever present granite, the landscape was dominated by small fields defined by hedge rows, lanes and walls of immutable stone. As a consequence occupations and place names were less commonly relied on, and surnames were more apt to to be derived from characteristics of the landscape. Cornish Surnames: The selection of Surnames included in this section represent the typical Tre, Pol and Pen surnames, as well as those from more obscure landscape features. Additionally several patronymic forms are represented. Tresidder  A variant of Treseder, from the farm of Seder. The Baptism of Elizabeth Treseder is recorded in 1595 in the Parish of Constantine. Remarkably in 1881 the surname persisted in the immediate vicinity of Constantine.  Polglase: A rare Cornish surname in “Pol” with only 246 occurrences in the 1881 census. There are two places named Polglase in the Registration District of Helston. The place name Pol glase or Pol glaze means a green pool. In 1881 the largest concentration of the surname (94) is found in the Helston  Registration District. Parish records as early as 1610 record baptisms in Gwiner and Breage. Hollow: Reaney and Wilson point to early records in Cambridge and  Worcestershire and point to the origin of the surname as “dweller in the hollow” (OE). However the Cornwall Hollows are in all probability unrelated and represent separate origins. Colin Hollow makes the case that the Hollow may have originally been from central Cornwall where rents for a manor called Holla are referenced. In The late 15th  century mention is made of a messuage in Penzance in the possession of a John Holla. The first parish records of the Holla surname are a marriage in Madron in 1578 and baptism in 1593.  Nancarrow:  The place name etymology is from Cornish nans valley + carow, deer, stag or garow, rough. Two estates of this name, one in St. Michael Penkevil, and the other in St. Allen formerly belonged to the family of Nancarrow. (C. S. Gilbert's Cornwall ). The surname is still focused in the parishes in the 1881 Census. Scantlebury: The precise origin of the Scantlebury surname is uncertain. Two locations in Devon are proffered Kentisbury(Kentisbeare,DB), and Kentisbury(Chentesberie DB). The Oxford Dictionary of Place Names suggests Kentisbeare is  an Old English personal name “the wood or grove of a man called Centel” while Kentisbury is the “stronghold of a man called Centel”. At some point the “S” sound would have been affixed to the surname. While in 1881 small numbers Scantleburys remained in Northern Devon, the Cornish distribution would suggest migration took place at some later point in time. If this is the case, based on parish records, It would seem reasonable to assume the migration occurred  prior to the 16th century. Hocking(s) Hocken Hockin Hawkin: The origin of the surname is  unclear. One theory traces it to the migration of Flemish weavers to northern England where they were involved in the woollen textile industry. The surname may be  derived from the forename Hocc, a pet form of the OE Hocca. Flemish surnames frequently include the suffix kin. The surname became established in Devon near Lydford where it appears in early taxation records. In the early 17th century the surname was established in western Devon and much of Cornwall. By the 19th century it had ramified in the west, notably in Redruth and Penzance.