Recorded as Dollard and Dullard, this is a medieval English surname. Quite rare and mainly recorded in the south of England, it first appears in the records of the city of London in the early 13th century, see below. As such it was one of a large group of 'nickname' surnames which came into prominence during the Middle Ages, at a time when humour was very robust. Whilst there is some disagreement over the actual meaning, we do know that like the surname Doll it derives from the pre 7th century Olde English word 'dol,' which itself derives from the even older Norse 'dul,' meaning conceited or proud. The suffix '-ard' is again Olde English and a short form of 'hard', meaning just that, a hard man. However over the past fifteen hundred years 'doll' has had such a variety of meanings that it is almost impossible to attribute an actual meaning as may have appertained in the Middle Ages! What we do know is that almost every nickname originally meant the opposite of what it appeared to say. The most famous example is probably Little John (or John Little) who was the largest outlaw in Robin Hood's band of followers. The first recording of this surname is that of Richard Dullard, who appears in the Close Rolls of the city of London, in 1231. Richard Dollard was recorded in the city of Colchester, Essex, in 1329, whilst Jacob Dullard was a christening witness at the famous church of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on November 5th 1630.
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