Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his March 14th column, he looks at the history of the name Trevor.
Trevor may not sing tonight, but he’ll surely joke about singers. Tonight, South-African born comedian Trevor Noah, star of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” hosts the 63rd Grammy Awards.
Trevor is a Welsh surname, indicating one’s ancestors lived in one of several medieval hamlets in Wales whose name meant “large homestead.”
Though Trevor is an uncommon last name it’s well-known in Britain because of Edward Trevor (1580-1642), a Welsh soldier sent to Ireland who married Rose Ussher, daughter of the Anglican Archbishop of Armagh, in 1612. He acquired a large estate in County Down and was knighted in 1617.
Sir Edward’s grandson Sir John Trevor (1637-1717) was Speaker of the House of Commons from 1689 to 1695. Though Sir John lost his speakership because of taking bribes, by then his daughter Anne had married Michael Hill, Governor of County Down. Their elder son Trevor Hill (1693-1742), perhaps the earliest person with Trevor as a first name, became Viscount Hillsborough. Younger son Arthur (1694-1771), created Viscount Dungannon in 1766, is a five-greats-grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II.
Trevor’s aristocratic associations led to its use as a surname for many characters in British novels and plays. After 1925 it became fashionable as a first name in England. This was reinforced when Trevor Howard (1913-1988) became one of Britain’s biggest movie stars in “Brief Encounter” (1945). Trevor peaked in 1955 at around 27th on England’s baby name chart.