Recorded in several spellings including Arbuckle, Arbuckel, Hornbuckle, and possibly Harbottle, this is a Scottish surname of locational origins. It derives from the village of Arbuckle in the county of Lanarkshire, and like most locational surnames was probably give to the first nameholder (see below) after he left the original homestead, and moved elsewhere. "Elsewhere" could be the next village, or it could be a different country, however it was in medieval times, and to some extent it remains so today, that the easiest means of identifying "a stranger" is to called him or her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Not surprisingly given that for most of history only one in twenty people could read, and only one in ten write their name, spelling variants were very common. The meaning of the name Arbuckle is unclear, but it may derive from the Olde English pre 7th century "eor" meaning earth, and "boc", beech trees, the land covered by beech. Early examples of the surname recording include William Arbuckle of Glasgow, who in 1685 was given the responsibility for transporting the prisoners of the ill fated Monmouth Rebellion to a life of slavery in the West Indies. Rather less contentiously John Arbuckle (1838 - 1912) was a philanthropist of made his money through sugar refining. As most sugar came from the West Indies, perhaps though he was related to William Arbuckle? The first known recording of the surname is believed to be that of John Arbuckle of Irvine, a witness there in the year 1499.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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