This is a good example of a modern surname originating from a popular medieval nickname and also of one which means what it says! It is derived from the Olde French "Sauvage" which itself derives from the Roman (Latin) element "Silva" meaning "Wood" and "Salvus" - whole or sound. Large woods and forests were frightening places to ancient people, associated with "Wildness" and it may be that the original meaning referred to dwellers in the Wild Woods and hence "Savages". However, by the Medieval times the name was clearly complimentary and associated with the qualities of Fierceness. The name recordings include Geoffrey le Savage (1273, Leicestershire), Robertus Sawfage (1379, Yorkshire), Adam Savadge (1566, London), Alice Savidge (1613, Clerkenwell) and Antony Salvage (1655, Aldgate, London). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edric Salvage, which was dated 1086, The Domesday Book of Herefordshire, during the reign of King William I, "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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