This ancient Lancastrian surname recorded in the spellings of Ormerod, Ormrod, and the unusual Omrod, is locational. It derives from a medieval hamlet in the parish of Whalley called 'Ormerod', which translates as 'Ormes royd'. This was Olde English pre 7th century , with 'Orm' being a personal name, translating as 'The serpent', but nethertheless very popular in the pre Norman period. A 'royd' has several meanings including a small valley, a wood or even a cultivated area. It was claimed in the 19th century 'Baines, History of Lancashire', that the 'Ormerods of Ormerod', held the Manor of Ormerod from the year 1311 until 1793, when the last representative of the original line, Charlotte Ann Ormerod, 'conveyed' the estate to her husband, Colonel Hargreaves. It seems that Col. Hargreaves must have been wealthy enough in his own right not to take the 'Ormerod' name, a common practice in those days when inheriting from an heiress. The coat of arms was 'allowed' by Somerset Herald in 1623, but presumably was of much older standing. The distinctive blazon has a gold field, charged with three bars, and a lion passant in chief, all red. Although the original family line of descent failed two hundred years ago, that is not to say that many of todays nameholders will not be related, as clearly they will be. early examples of the recordings include John Ormerod of Gambleside, in the Chester Wills list of 1593, Peter Ormrod, who married Isabell Davis at St George's chapel, Hanover Square, London, in 1732, and Lawrence Ormerod of Ormerod, who married Martha Anne Leghe, in 1784. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Ormerod, which was dated January 30th 1563, who married Agnes Pearson, at Burnley, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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