Skyrme family and one-name study website Guild of One Name Studies :: One-Name Study Reg. No. 6232

Origin of the name Skyrm(e). See also the related pages on variants and the distribution and frequency of the name.

Family Folklore

Our family folklore always held that the name was Norse in origin and came to Wales with the Viking raids in the 9th or 10th century. They cite the name of an island off Pembrokeshire (Skomer) as evidence of this.

Surname Reference Books

Being an unusual name, Skyrme is not listed in most surname dictionaries. One source, however, lists the name


as being derived from the medieval French eskirmer, a fencing master.

Naturally the wife of the author, whose family name is Perrett and is therefore of ancient French lineage, and who did herself take up fencing before we married, believes that this is the true origin of the name Skyrme. Skrimshire, Skermer, Skirmer, Skirme are given as alternative spellings. The origin of the name Scrimshaw is also similar.

A more recent update to the Internet Surname Database says that it derives from the Middle English "skirme(n)" meaning "to fight", "to defend" and cites sources of its use since the late 13th Century. These two suggestions are at:

Which View is Correct?

So the question is - is Skyrme of French / middle English origin related to Skermer, Skirme et. al. or is it of Scandinavian origin?

Family folklore (vs. the surname reference sources) is partly corroborated by the RPSD Geneaology page about the name Skyrme. It mentions two brothers from Scandinavia coming via the Isle of Skye (Skye-man) and settling in Hereford in 8th - 10th century. However, no sources are given so this remains conjecture. Personally, I would have thought it easier to sail from Skye to Pembroke direct rather than via Hereford.

However, there is strong evidence that the Pembrokeshire branch started after a Thomas Skirme moved from Herefordshire (Lugwardine) to become an attorney in Pembroke in the mid-1600s.

My own research has yet to confirm any of these explanations. More investigation of medieval records beckons, but even then success is uncertain.

Perhaps the growing use of DNA testing in genealogical research can give us better insights?

... On the other hand, it may be something we shall never know with certainty.