Dunno really

In this sense Jack Leach — and surely no novelist could pick a more perfect name for such a determinedly rooted man of Somerset — is a heartwarming demonstration that the old ways can and do survive.

Leach appears to be more Gloucestershire than Somerset. If I were going for a proper job Somerset name I’d pick “Dando”.

One of that ilk I knew once described them as “the Jews of Somerset”. Not Hebraic, rather petit bourgeois traders and shopkeepers over the area – certainly of the north of the county.

I know it doesn’t sound particularly BBC mummerset but once primed to note it you do see it all over the area.

9 thoughts on “Dunno really”

  1. Was Jill Dando one of the Zummerset Dandos? She’s the only Dando I’ve ever heard of.

    I’ve noticed that even as I’ve got old I still come across British surnames I’ve never heard of before. Ignoring 20th and 21st century immigrants and their descendants, how many British surnames are there?

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    The most commonly known (in my experience) “foreign” sounding English surname is Baragwanath. As in the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto.

    I always assumed it was some worthy Indian gentleman who gave a lot of cash to found it. But actually the name is Cornish.

  3. Are surnames ending in …cott, a West Somerset thing? As in Westmacott, Vellacott, etc. I might have a rummage to see if it was chance I met them there and not elsewhere.

  4. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme February 14, 2021 at 11:43 am – “Was Jill Dando one of the Zummerset Dandos? She’s the only Dando I’ve ever heard of.”

    The gentlemen “convicted” of killing Stephen Lawrence were only convicted because the private lab the prosecution paid to find evidence that the official police lab could not, found microscopic traces of gun shot residue on their clothes.

    Oddly the same was true for Barry George – the man convicted of killing Jill Dando.

    If microscopic traces of gun shot residue are acceptable in one case, surely they are acceptable in both? Does that mean George did it?

  5. I’ve looked up Baragwanath and it’s a very odd name. 2 Celtic words rammed together – bara (bread) and gwenith (wheat). Mr Breadwheat!? I suppose it’s on the same lines as Barleycorn or Appleyard or Sweetbread.

  6. The gentlemen “convicted” of killing Stephen Lawrence were only convicted because the private lab the prosecution paid to find evidence that the official police lab could not, found microscopic traces of gun shot residue on their clothes.

    Stephen Lawrence was stabbed.

  7. @Diogenes
    Or it may be from bar-gwanath, the top of the wheat (field?). Like most of ‘Cornish’, it’s just Welsh with a lisp, bara brith is ‘speckled bread’.

  8. So Much For Subtlety

    PJF February 14, 2021 at 1:31 pm – “Stephen Lawrence was stabbed.”

    Wow. I knew those labs were good, I did not know they were that good. It takes real skill to find gunshot residue in cases like that.

    I stand corrected. Microdots of blood then. That the police labs were unable to find.

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