Recorded in several forms as shown below, this is an early medieval Scottish surname. It is locational originating from either of the two places in Scotland called Torrance, one near East Kilbride in Lanarkshire, and the other north of Glasgow under the Campsie Fells. The placenames are derived from the Gaelic word "torran", meaning a hillock or mound, with the later addition of the English plural "s". Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Torrance, Torrans, Torrence, and Torrens. John Torrance was recorded as a tenant of Newbattle Abbey in 1563, and the marriage of John Torrans to Elizabeth Thompson was recorded at Manchester Cathedral, on September 19th 1875. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was David Torrance (1840 - 1906), Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Connecticut, in America, who was born in Edinburgh. The family Coat of Arms is per pale red and gold, two boat oars in saltire blue, the Crest being a bull's head erased, and the Motto is, "I saved the king". Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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