Last name: Scamp

The famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley writing in the year 1880 suggested that this quite rare English surname, actually meant what it said. If so it is pre-medieval in origin, was possibly introduced into England at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and a derivation of the French word "descampen." This meant literally a person who had no fixed abode, however in the British Isles it was generally accepted as being a nickname for a male, probably a young man, who was "a bit of a lad"! Nicknames form one of the largest of the surname groupings, and it is generally estimated that 15% of all surnames, were originally nicknames. These were given for many reasons, and are unique in often being the opposite of what would seem to be suggested. As a good example Little John or John Little, was the largest of the outlaws in the famous group lead by the legendary Robin Hood. This surname recorded as Scamp, Scampe, Skam, Skamp, Skaimes, Scemp, and possibly others, is well recorded in the surviving early registers of the city of London from at least Elizabethan times. The earliest of these recordings is probably that of the exotically named Taulbutt Scamp, at St Andrews Holborn, on March 27th 1586.

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Matt Sears
Matt Sears contact email mattsears53@googlemail.com

Matt Sears
My name is Matt Sears, I am currently coordinating research into the Romany Community of Britain. As part of this study we will be taking DNA samples from males who carry documented Romany surnames, Scamp being one of those chosen. The research has full ethical approval and the results will be accessible online towards the end of the study. If your Scamp paternal ancestry has Romany origins and you can provide some detail of your male line back to 1900 or thereabouts we would be interested in sending you a kit through the post. The study is free, the results will help us better understand the origins of Britain 19s Romany community. Looking forward to hearing from you.