Mystery Monday: Lyssence

Every Monday we will post an entry that hasn’t yet been published with a view towards harnessing the collective onomastic power of the internet. If you have any thoughts about the name’s origin, other variants it might be related to, other examples of its use, etc., please share them in the comments! If you wish to browse other Mystery Monday names, there is an index.

Today’s name is one that we came across quite recently, in the 16th C registers of the parish of Bath.


It’s clearly masculine from context, and also clearly a given name (gotta love parish registers for making both of these things often crystal clear!), but beyond that, we haven’t a clue. It’s a name that nibbles at you and makes you think “surely there’s got to be a straightforward explanation”, the sort of name that sounds like it’s just a word, but there’s no word like “lyssence” or “lissence” in any dictionary we’ve checked, and plugging the word into google gets modern social media handles and nothing more.

Do you recognise the name? Have any thought as to its origin? We’d love to know! Please share in the comments.


Filed under crowd-sourcing, dictionary entries, mystery monday

3 responses to “Mystery Monday: Lyssence

  1. Jörg Knappen

    I am tempted to link this name to the Late Roman name Licentius, known from a disciple of Augustine of Hippo and acting as a dialog partner to Augustine in Augustine’s work.

  2. Diego

    > there’s no word like “lyssence” or “lissence” in any dictionary we’ve checked

    Just in case: ‘lyssence’ appears occasionally as a spelling of ‘licence’. This page (Penn Parish Register) has ‘Lyssense’, ‘licence’ and ‘Lycens’ one after the other:
    Whether the noun would have been used as a given name I don’t know.

  3. Brian M. Scott

    This is late enough that the name may be a transferred surname. Reaney & Wilson have an entry for a surname Lysons, Licence, Lison that they derive from the French place-name Lison (Calvados), with citations de Lison 1195 and Lycens 1524, the latter in Suffolk.

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