I have a fairly unusual first name, and a quite unusual surname – and my married name is also quite unusual too. I like having that distinction, although when I was a child I didn’t like my first name particularity, but soon got to like it and can’t imagine being anything else.
I suppose because of my own names, I am interested in other unusual names – names of people, first and surnames, and names of places too. The other day I was watching the news, and i can’t now remember what the report was about, but their was a police officer whose surname was Upex… that really is a very unusual name! There are so many people from other countries in the UK now that I wondered if it might be a name from overseas, but no; it is English.
Apparently, the first recorded spelling of the name was on a marriage record in 1636, in Norhtamptonshire, but it seems as if the name is much older than that, going back to an old English place name, something like Up-aesc which means has a connection with ash trees.
In the 1841, 1851 and 1861 censuses, all the Upex individuals recorded lived in the counties of Northampton and Huntington, and so it continued over the next decades, with the majority of the families living in the same area and Cambridgeshire; a few moved further away, Yorkshire, Cornwall, London, but the majority were in that broad area across what might be called the south Midlands.
However, for people from the Northeast of England, and Middlesbrough in particular, the name Upex has a very different connotation… pies! Apparently Upex meat pies are the best in the world. I can’t find out anything at all about them historically, except that the orignal pie production closed down for twenty years, but apparently is now back and being enjoyed across the area.
As well as Superintendent Upex, who first triggered my interest in the name, there are two Professors Upex, one an archaeologist particularly interested in British landscape history, one a very senior lawyer, and a Dr Upex who is also a specialist in archaeology.
I wonder if it is the case of having come across this unusual name once, now I’ll bump into it a gain and maybe again?
… and i have to say my featured image isn’t necessarily of ash trees!