- Recorded in England in the spellings of Testeau, Testo, and probably Testro, this is a surname of French and Huguenot protestant origins. It derives from the medieval word 'teste' itself from the Latin 'testa' meaning a pot. The medieval surname is probably a metonymic or nickname for a potter, a maker of earthenware pots, although there is an alternative suggestion that it may refer to a persons physical appearance, somebody with a round face. If it was a nickname, it was clearly regarded as complimentary or it could hardly have survived over the centuries. The surname is first recorded in the church registers of England in the reign of King William 111rd of England, and Prince of Orange. He gave great support to the Huguenot refugees fleeing France, and one of these was Jean Testeau, whose son Guillaume was christened at the French Church, Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, on July 19th 1697. It seems, although it is unclear from the registers of the diocese of Greater London, that the name was 'anglicised' in the following century to Testo and Testro. This is not surprising as relationships between Britain and France were at the lowest possible ebb during this period. What we can show is that on september 13th 1815, shortly after the battle of Waterloo, the name is (almost certainly coincidentally) recorded in London as Testro, when Susanna, the daughter of Christopher and Susanna Testro, and the first of their five children was christened at St Mary's church, Lambeth. Their son also called Christopher, seems to have been married twice, firstly to Sarah in about 1840, and then about ten years later to Lucy. They had a son William, who was christened on June 26th 1853. The surname is also recorded as Testo, William Testo, being recorded at Christ Church, Ealing., on June 26th 1867.
Surnames reference. 2013.