Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Scarman, Scirman, Scurman, Skarman, Skareman, and Skerman, this is an English surname, but with complex origins. It seems to derive either from an Olde English pre 7th century word "scir" or the Norse -Viking "skirr" of the same period. The English word means clean or clear, and is usually used to describe a stream or river, whilst the Norse word means rocky or steep, and to which ever of these was appropriate has been added the genitive agent "man". This itself can have a number of meanings including friend, servant, foreman. In this case we believe that the origin has been "fused" and both words apply and as such the name is residential and describes "the man from a rocky place or a clear stream". There are still today an estimated eighteen places in the gazetters of the British Isles, virtually all in the north of England, which was the area most controlled by the Vikings, with the prefix "Skir". These include such places as Skirbeck in Lincolnshire (clear stream), and Skircoat in Yorkshire (stone cottage), and any of these could have provided nameholders. However the suriving registers of the diocese of Greater London provide the most complete set of recordings and examples from this source include: Christian Scarman who married Nicholas Maddox at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on June 30th 1578, Florence Skirman, who married Nathaniel Uttinge at St Margarets, Westminster, on July 11th 1630, and George Skerman, who married Margett Towsey, at the same church, on October 5th 1635.
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