Recorded as Norris, Noriss, Norrish, Norrie, Norreys, Nourse, Nurse, Nursey and probabkly others, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It has three origins. The first and most generally applicable to modern-day bearers is from the French term "norreis", meaning a northerner. Initially this probably refererred to a Norman from Nornandy, but in England probably described a Scot, whilst in Scotlland it probably meant a Norseman or Viking from Scandanavia. In England the name was popular in the Midlands. The second possible origin is Anglo-Saxon, and is a topographic name for someone who lived "at the north house", one on the north side of a settlement, as in the recording of Adam de Norhuse in the county of Essex in 1206. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The third origin is an occupational name for a nurse, from the Old French word "norrice". Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary, when a son followed a fatger or perhaps a mother, into the same line of occupation. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Norreis. This was dated 1148, in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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