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Skentelbery family

Posted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 2:15 pm
by DavidSkentelbery
My name is David Skentelbery - and while I am not a Cornishman I have got a Cornish name.
I know the Skentelbery family has roots in the Looe/Polperro area although, sadly, those who were closely related to me have passed on.
But I am a frequent visitor to Cornwall - at least once a year and often more - and although I live in Cheshire I still regard Cornwall as a second home.
I am wondering if there are any other Skentelberys out there? If so, I would be pleased to hear from them.
Also, does anyone know the origin of the name. i am told it is occupational - possibly something to do with the building trade, particularly roofing. Anyone any ideas?

Re: Skentelbery family

Posted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:48 pm
by Kaliforni
"Skentelbery" and its variants (I have a "Scantlebury" variant in my family tree) is indeed a fairly common name in eastern Cornwall. My Scantleburys originate from around Landulph and Botusfleming.

I think most etymologists agree that the "-bury" suffix gives the name away as being Anglo-Saxon rather than Cornish in origin. The Oxford Dictionary of Surnames thinks that it is simply a variant of Kentisbury, which is a town in Devon possibly meaning "Centwine's fort"--clearly very Saxon.

But that raises the question: Why the added "S"? Those who know some Cornish will recognize "skentel" as Cornish for "skilled." Could it be that the originator of this alteration of the surname was a Cornish speaker who conflated "skentel" with "kentis"? The resulting combination, Cornish skentel=skilled + Anglo-Saxon bury=fort doesn't make much sense on its own, but, in a stretch, could imply a craftsman of some sort ("skilled town worker"?).