In my Regency romance series, “The Rogue Hearts,” I created a family with the surname Amesbury. I first heard the name when a neighbor got engaged to a young man whose last name was Amesbury. The moment I heard Amesbury, something perked up inside me.
My neighbor said dreamily, “Doesn’t that sound like the name of an English lord?”
I wholeheartedly agreed. Years later, when I wrote my first Regency romance novel, The Stranger She Married, there was no question that Amesbury would be Cole’s surname. And since Cole has three living brothers, there would be a total of four heroes with that same wonderfully romantic and noble surname.
I did some research on the origin of the surname Amesbury. I found that it is, indeed, British with a long and distinguished history. Here is a great website with info about the family name here: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Amesbury.
“This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational surname deriving from the place in Wiltshire called “Amesbury”. The place name is first recorded circa 880 in the “Saxon Charters” as “Ambresbyrig”, and means “Ambr’s fortress”, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name “Ambr”, after the Old Germanic name “Ambricus”, thought to mean “immortal”, from the Greek “Ambrosios”, with Old English “burg” or “burh” meaning a fort or fortified place and often referring to a Roman or other pre-English fort.”
This describes my family of heroes well because the family has a fortress–the castle that has been in the family for generations–but better yet, the heroes themselves are each “fortresses”–standing against evil and protecting the innocent and those whom they love. Plus, they are all gorgeous men of Greek god proportions. The castle belonging to the family has a series of gardens, each created after a different Greek myth.
And even better, my heart nearly stopped when I read this:
“The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christian Amsburie…dated 7th August 1578, Bitton, Gloucestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 – 1603”
Christian! An amazing coincidence, since Christian is the name of one of my Amesbury brothers, the youngest, and the hero of my third book in the series, A Perfect Secret (pictured right). Don’t you just love serendipity?
So the name Amesbury is a perfectly appropriate surname for an earl of a Regency romance novel with ancient lineage, not to mention a castle, to have. Besides, it just sounds lovely, doesn’t it?