Alcorn Family Genealogy Forum
Pamela and others,
This story has been circulating for about 30 years, however, no one has ever offered any proof that any portion of it is correct. There are two problems with the story. (1) A person who cares about horses wouldn't turn them loose into a field of ripened grain. The horses would eat the grain, drink water, the grain would swell and there would be a lot of sick horses the next day. (2) The name was in existance in Sussex county before King James V of Scotland (1512 - 1542) and before the Norman Invasion (1066). A more likely origin of the Alcorn name can be found in the book: Rotherfield - The Story of some Wealdon Manors by Catherine Pullein, Couring Printing and Publishing Company, Ltd., England, 1928. In the parish of Rotherfield in the county of Sussex lies the Manor of Alchorne. Rotherfield, of which the Manor (or Burroughe) of Alchorne was a part, was in the possession of Duke Bertoald, or Berhtwald, a Duke of the South Saxons, and was givenby him to the Abbey of St. Denys in Paris to erect a church. The deed was written in A.D. 790. The church was erected in Rotherfield and the name Alchorne is related to it. In the book: Surnames of the United Kingdom, by Henry Harrison, 1969, “the name Allcorn is English, believed to come from Alchorne, a parish in Sussex. The name may be from the Old English words ALH, meaning temple, plus HORN (or HYRNE) meaning a corner of land.” Thus, the name may mean “a corner of land near a temple ”. And, indeed, the land known as the Manor of Alchorne did extend outward from the church which was built by monks from St. Denys. In the Domesday Book of 1086, the land is refered to as: “In Mellinges Hundred. Archbishop Lanfranc holds the Manor of Mellinges. . . William de Cahaignes holds one virgate of this manor, and it is at Alsihorne." After the Normans came to power, the custom of a person referring to where they or their family came from became in use by others. Thus, by A.D. 1262 there is an early record of a Peter de Alchehorne, (Peter from Alchehorne), who was one of twelve local men who swore to the extent of Rotherfield Manor on the occasion of the Inquisition Post Mortem of its lord, Richard de Clare. In the Subsidy of 1327, an Adam de Alcheshorne, is found paying one shilling and seven pence at Horsted Keynes. Mark Antony Lower wrote in his History of Sussex (1870) that ‘they (meaning Alcorns) resided at Rotherfield in the time of King John, (that is between the years 1199-1216). From this time on, there are several "Alcorn" listed with various spellings: John and Thomas Alchehorne (1384) Richard Alchehorn (1407), Wm. Alchorne (1450), Galfridus Alchorne (1476), Philip Alchorne (1504), John Allcorne (1752), Wm. Allcorn (1797).
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