On the face of it, this interesting English medieval surname is an occupational nickname for a man who either operated a trout farm, all monasteries and most major houses would have had a designated trout lake, or one who was a renowned trout fisherman. However it is also possibly locational from any or all of the villages which include Trout in the name. The surviving examples are Trout Beck (Trout stream) of which there are two villages in Cumbria and Northumberland, and Troutsdale (Trout valley) in North Yorkshire. Recorded in the spellings of Trout, Troutt, Trowte, Traut, Trute, Troutbeck, Trousdale, Trowsdale, Trusdell and possibly others, the first known recording is probably that of William Trute in the Assize Rolls of the county of Lancashire in the year 1202, and later William Troute in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Suffolk in 1327. Appearance in the Assize Rolls did not necessarily imply that the person concerned had been up to no good! The rolls were widely used to record all sorts of legitimate transactions and the taxes to be paid. Other interesting recordings are those of Thomas Trout of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax register of 1379, Edward Troutbeck, a student at Oxford University in 1568, John Trowte of Somerset in the same register but for 1602, and Phineas Trusdell or Trousdale who left London for The Barbadoes in 1635.
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