Recorded in the spellings of Mustard, Musterd, Mustarde, and occasionally Mustart, this is a surname which does actually mean what it says. It of Olde French pre 10th century origins, being introduced into England by the Norman-French Invaders of 1066. As first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Yorkshire in the year 1191, it is clearly a nickname surname for a hot, peppery, character, called in this case Adam Mustard. This is a description that also probably applied to William Mustard of Hereford in the Pipe Rolls of 1206. Nearly two centuries later the name is occupational although the French influence is still present, with John le Mustarder of Cambridge being recorded in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Cambridge in 1327, and Adam le Mustardman, in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in the same year. Curiously surnames deriving from nicknames seem to have 'stuck'; and become hereditary as we know them in the 20th century, much earlier than occupational surnames. Before the 15th century these tended only to be come hereditary when a son or grandson continued in the family tradition, otherwise the surname changed as the job changed. Many nickname surnames were extremely 'robust', and highly descriptive. Not only does this seem not to have bothered the original name holders, rather the reverse, as Chaucer has shown, many glorified in their explicitness! However after the Elizabethan reign and the coming of the Puritans, a long period of gentification set in, which saw many early surnames disappear. Fortunately this colourful surname has remained with us, and it is to be hoped, will continue for many centuries.
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