A Possible Origin of the Cluett / Clewett Surname

Originally an occupational surname. It is estimated that one third of occupational surnames were French in origin until well into the 13th century and French was the language of all well educated people. The lower classes spoke English.

Many French language occupation names were introduced into England after the Norman Conquest but many are now obsolete. Some became part of Middle English vocabulary and are still in use. Thus a man could appear at one time with an English name and at another time with a synonymous French name.

For example, NAYLOR (Old English - naegel - nail) is paralleled by CLOWER (Old French - clou - nail, maker of nails). Thus Stephen le Cloer (1292 Subsidy Roll) is probably identical with Stephen le Nayler (1319 Subsidy Roll). Variations:- NAYLAR - NAYLER - NAILER as well as Nealour, Nalour, Naylour, etc. 

Jewish equivalent - Ashkenazy.

From: Origins of English Surnames by P.H. Reaney (1967)

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Page last updated: 14 August 2003