Posted by Linden on June 20, 1998 at 19:35:29:
In response to Addressing a 'Sir'!, written by MariaH on June 20, 1998 at 10:34:00
] A 'Mr' was always referred to by his surname, and any ranks of peerage after that by what they held (right?), so why are 'sirs' addressed differently?
I think that the answer comes from the feudal system, before surnames really got going. Knighthood was a feudal institution, but the naming system carried on much later.
Most people in the middle ages would be called by their Christian names: hence if they got knighted, they would be Sir plus Christian name. People with the same Christian name would have some sort of distinguishing addition - William the short, Ralph the baker, Richard of Chipping Sodbury etc. Lords would be called by their estate name.
I think the title "Mr" was later than knighthood and only got going when there was a sizable middle class who needed some title of respect, but weren't knights.
- Namings John W 00:33:22 6/22/98 (5)
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