As a surname Timothy has always been quite rare in the British Isles, and its origins subject to much disagreement amongst etymologists and researchers. Why this should be so is unclear, as St Timothy was an original member of the Christian church, being a disciple of St Paul and one who was martyrd in the year 97 a.d. and who therefore died in the first stages of the development of the religion. Indeed as the vast majority of 'names' throughout Europe, do derive from a saints name, it is arguable that this name should be much more popular, both as a baptismal name and a surname.It is true that before the 12th century and the famous 'Crusades' when successive attempts were made to free the Holy Land from the infidel, like most biblical names Timothy was found only rarely in church records, and then as a priest or monks name. However this state of affairs applied even to the most popular names such as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, as examples. Curiously Timothy as a surname is much more popular in its apparent short forms of Tim, Timm, Timme, and Timms. This has lead some researchers to claim that these names are not from Timothy at all, but from a German name of the pre 7th century 'Thiemmo'. Anything is possible with 'names'. An early example of the surname recording is the very interesting one of John Timothy, aged 29. He was convicted of being a Monmouth rebel in 1685, and was 'sold for ten yeares' to Ann Walters of Barbados, in the West Indies. His occupation was given as being a 'Riben veuer' (Ribbon weaver?), a trade of some size in Exeter, Devon. His ultimate fate is not known, but probably he was released after the accession of William of Orange in 1689.
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