Recorded in several forms including Turnough, Tariell, Ternott, Ternouth, Turneux and Turneaux, which despite some of the apparently French spellings, we believe for most nameholders, this is an English locational surname. Like the surnames Fernhough and Greenough, it is probably from Lancashire or at least the North West of England in origin, and probably derives from the pre 7th century words 'torn-halgh', the latter being dialectally changed in medieval times to 'hough', and meaning the thorn covered hill, or perhaps the hill defended by thorn bushes.There does not appear to be any surviving place so named in any of the spellings, but this whilst unusual, is not necessarily uncommon, over five thousand surnames of the British Isles are known to originate from now 'lost' medieval villages, hamlets or even single farms. In most cases these have totally disappeared from all maps, the only surviving memory being the surname itself, often in spellings far removed from the original place name, or perhaps the occasional reference in some dusty charter. The only possible French influence would seem to be the surnames Ternault or Ternaux. These are occupational or nickname surnames which derive from the word 'ternal', given as being a method of measuring wine. These names may be Huguenot from the 17th or 18th century, and an import into England, and could have an association with the recording of John Turneux, at St Pauls church, Covent Garden, London, in 1772. Other earlier recordings which are almost certainly English: include Frauncis Turnough, who married Jarred Tasker, at the church of St Gregory's by St Paul's, city of London, on February 3rd 1563, and James Turnough, who married Barbara Lancaster at St James church, Clerkenwell, on February 15th 1621.
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