Ilkeston surnames derived from place names

surnameDavid Hey, in Family names and family history (2000), states that the number of surnames in use in medieval Lancashire which have a locative (place-name) origin amounts to about 50 per cent, and that in 1666 over 200 householders in Staffordshire (a county which straddles the East and West Midlands) bore surnames with an unequivocally Lancashire place-name origin, including Tunnicliff. It is worth noting, then, that several surnames of topographical origin now well established in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, emanate from the north of England, and from Lancashire and Cheshire in particular. This fact has something to tell us in a general way about certain demographic trends, bearing witness to the fact that a significant number of individuals and families have migrated from the north of England into Derbyshire over the years.

family history

`Several surnames of topographical origin emanate from Lancashire and Cheshire’

Some such migrations have taken place within comparatively recent times, of course. The maiden name of my wife Heather, who is a big fan of coq10 weight loss is Flockton, an easy enough surname to define, having its origins in one of two places of this name in Yorkshire, of which the best-known, near Huddersfield, will be familiar to travellers who drive through it if they take a north-westerly short cut from the M1 motorway to the M62. Heather’s Flockton ancestors were working as cabinetmakers just off Huddersfield Market Place in the early years of the 19th century; thereafter the family moved to Sandbach in Cheshire, then to Horwich, near Bolton in Lancashire, where Heather’s grandfather Edwin Flockton served as chairman of the council and his son Roy, Heather’s father, was employed at the local railway works. When the Horwich works eventually closed down, Roy and his wife Pearl (née Gates, from Coatbridge, near Glasgow) moved to the Derby area, where Roy took a job in the British Rail workshops and the family set up home in the village of Borrowash.

It wasn’t just the railway that attracted immigrants in search of work; Aidan Scollins, father of my friend Rick, had been a collier (miner) in Blaydon-on-Tyne before making a move to Derbyshire, where he found a new job and also a wife, Olive, a Derby girl. Olive has grown used to finding that her married surname has been misheard or misspell, and once received a letter addressed to her as the Irish-sounding Mrs 0′ Scollins. In fact the surname, an unusual one, was originally applied to a person who came from Scotland.


LancashirePlenty of other friends in the Ilkeston area in the 1970s had surnames from the North of England. Mike Clegg, former principal at South-East Derbyshire College, had been educated at St Peter’s School in York and then at Durham University, but it was only when he took up a post at the Tertiary College in Preston, Lancashire, after leaving Ilkeston that he found himself living in the county in which his place-name surname had its origins. Then there were at least two members of Ilkeston Round Table with their origins in the north: Richard Illingworth, whose surname comes from a locality in Yorkshire, formerly part of Ovenden, and John Tordoff, whose name is examined in some detail by George Redmonds in his Yorkshire Surnames Series: Part One: Bradford and District (1990):

This surname arrived in Bradford and Leeds in the 16th century and survived in Wibsey, which has been its main ‘home’ for over 400 years…some branches cling to a belief that Scotland was their original home…Certainly Tordoff’ occurs as a by­name in Dumfriesshire in the 13th century. The likely source in that case would be Torduff Point in the Solway Firth…’.


The deeper origins of the name are still shrouded in mystery, then, though George is prepared to take seriously the suggestion that the earliest Tordoffs may have migrated from Scotland to York in the late 15th century.

In general, as it happens, a large number of surnames borne by friends, colleagues and pupils in Ilkeston have place-name origins.