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Origines du patronyme Twyman

Chroniques Genepoulin

A compléter... Il est difficile de trouver le pays d’origine de nos ancêtres. On mentionne l’Irlande à plusieurs endroits, mais quand on cherche le nom en Irlande, depuis le recensement du début des années 1800, on trouve des Tyman, Timmen…. Mais aucun toyman ou thoyman qui ressemblerait à Twyman.

1 The first of these theories is one of a spelling mutation, with the Twyman surname being a metathesized form of a similar surname. To explain, within Hampshire there is a town now known as Christchurch. However in the past this town has been known as Twinham. This has over the years lent itself to what is known a relatively uncommon surname deriving from the place name...the Twynam surname, which differentiates itself visually from the more common Twyman spelling simply in the respect that the N and the M have switched places. There is also a theory that is pretty much the same as this, only differing in the respect that the origins of the name can be found in the town of Twinehame is Sussex and that the Twynam surname had developed in the same way as seen in Hampshire.

2 The second theory is simply one of language, based on the theory that the similiar Twyford surname reportedly has connections with area in which the town's river had been bridged twice in that area. The theory goes along the lines that the surname connects to the Twymen...or two men. Perhaps indicating a set of brothers, most likely involved in trading in a given area. This at least would be supported by the fact that the earliest Twymans in Kent can be found in the costal ports in Thanet.

3 The third theory builds on the previous, and I believe is at least slightly more plausible. The suggestion is that the Twyman surname derives from the Old English word "teowingmann", which was often the name given to the chief man of a tithing.

4 The fourth, and I believe most interesting, theory picks up from this connection to the woollen trade. It is of note that involvement in the woollen trade was remarkably common amongst settlers from continental Europe around the 16th century, which is when you see some of the earliest known Twymans in Kent. At the time there was certainly a great influx of settlers in England, fleeing religious persecution in Europe due to the conflict between the Catholic status quo and the newly developing Protestantism. Interestingly, a lot of family stories that have been reported in the course of my research have maintained a connection between the Twymans and what is now Belgium and the Netherlands, and it is perhaps noticeable that some of the earliest appearances of something resembling Twyman is the parish registers in Kent read as "Twimà" and/or "Thwÿman".

5 What is also interesting to note is that the areas which even today show the highest population densities for the Twyman surname are those of the Isle of Thanet and the Isle of Wight in Hampshire. The historical interest therein comes in the fact that back at the time of the influx of the Anglo-Saxon people's into England, these areas were predominately occupied by the Jutes.

And according to J.S. Golding (The Twyman Family: One Name Study) [here cited] « One question that I am very often asked with connection to the Twyman surname is that of the origin of the name. Naturally there is interest in the initial roots of the line, and ultimately when going back the question of origins is going to come up in everyone's mind sooner or later. Over the years there has been considerable debate over the origins of the name, with theories ranging from the surname being due to a spelling mutation through to the surname having European connections through to the surname deriving from Anglo-Saxon terminology.

The most recent and likely theory is that given in the Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland published in 2016, which gives the Twyman name as being a mutation of an earlier variation of Twymere. This is then given as a toponymic surname, derived from the name of a now lost settlement of Twymere - which from sources at The National Archives in Kew would appear to have been in the Medway-area of Kent.

The earliest note of the archaic form of the surname is in the person of one Walter de Twymere, who is known purely from a writ of 1263 concerning lands owned by one Hamo de Crevecuer. The surname can be traced through scant records up until the mid-16th Century, at which point the final syllable mutated into man to give the modern spelling of the surname.

There are also branches of the surname (particularly and most notable in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) who likely existed as a mutation of the similar surname of Twynam (itself a derivate of Twynham and similar variants), as in the era before widespread literacy there is evidence of the two being interchangeable - and it is difficult to look at either surname without considering the other. The Twynham surname itself is, likewise, one with a toponymic origin, being derived from the ancient name for the town of Christchurch in Hampshire. »

Whichever of the theories is true, the suggestion seems to be that while Kent may today house the vast majority of the Twymans in the country, the family has it's roots elsewhere. Whether those roots are to be found in Europe or closer to home in Hampshire is a matter of conjecture at this time, but one thing is certain the Isle of Thanet as it was then would have provided an ideal settling point. Situated relatively close to Europe and with ports on both the English Channel and the now silted-up Wansum Channel, the potential for emigration and a life of trade was there. If one thing is certain its that more research is needed before a definitive answer can be given, and in future I hope to updating this article to reflect the new developments in the understanding of the origins of all Twyman branches.


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