This curious surname, long-established in England and Scotland, is of early medieval English origin, and is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to occupations, and to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral qualities, and to habits of dress and behaviour. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle English "wag(gen)", to brandish, shake (Olde English pre 7th Century "wagian"), with "horn", horn, an instrument which was made from the actual horn of an animal, and used not only in recreation and entertainment but also as a signal. The nickname "Waghorn" would have been acquired by a particularly enthusiastic or officious horn-blower or trumpeter. One Peter Waghorne de Dunbretane was among those appointed to treat for the ransom of David 11 in 1357, and in 1482, Finlaw Waghorne was declared innocent of any part in the detention of King James 111 in Edinburgh Castle. Mychell Waghorn, recorded in the Episcopal Register of Glasgow, "contracted to cover the stalls of the queir of Glasgow" in 1506, and on August 15th 1689, Sarah, daughter of Daniell Waghorn, was christened at St. Sepulchre's, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Waggehorn, which was dated 1332, in "Medieval Records of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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