Because Bluey’s talk of a little fic of Howard and Vince visiting Paris reminded me that both their surnames are (likely) of French origin...

Recorded in many forms including Le Noire, Le Noir, Lenoir, Lenoire, Noir, Noire, and the diminutives Noirel, and Noiret, this is an ancient French surname. It means literally dark or black, and has several possible origins, all nicknames. 

The first was as an ethnic nickname by a Northern Frenchman to describe somebody of swarthy appearance, who was probably from the south of France, or Spain, Italy or even North Africa. Secondly it may have been a nickname for a person who habitually wore dark clothing perhaps as some form of uniform, and thirdly it may have described a night worker, or at least somebody who was associated with the night. It is probable that there as many possible explanations as there are spelling s of the name. That there are over a dozen coats of arms granted to this surname would indicate its importance and standing in past times,.and most in some form or another, show a negroes head as part of the blazon. This is what is known as a canting, where the name and the blazon follow the same concept, however it is highly unlikely that the original nameholders were black skinned. The surname is widely recorded in France. 


This intriguing surname has a number of possible origins. The first is English but ultimately French, being from the village of Moyon in the departement of La Manche, in Normandy. The first name holder was one William de Moion, a close follower of Duke William of Normandy, and one who after the famlous Conquest of 1066, was granted various estates in the county of Dorset. Other early examples of the surname from this source include: Reginald de Moyn of Somerset in 1239, and William de Mohun of Wiltshire, in 1272. The second possible source is as a nickname from the French words “moun” meaning a monk, and as such given to a lay person who followed a monkish way of life, or perhaps played the part of a monk in the famous travelling theatres of the Middle Ages. 

(Moon may also have originated as a Cornish nickname for a slender person, from the Cornish “mon”, thin.  Finally, Moon may be Irish and either of English origin or a form of the Old Gaelic O'Mochain, a personal byname from the word “moch”, meaning early). 

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Personally I like the Middle-Ages idea of Howard’s ancestor being a travelling actor obsessed with becoming a great performer, but always given the part of a silent monk - and Vince’s ancestor being a young man born into nobility, but who is rather shy and always dresses himself in black to avoid being noticed.  However one day the troupe of actors arrive in Vince’s small Southern French town, and whilst everyone else is raving about the other players Vince cannot get the memory of the tall, silent, intense looking monk out of his head.  And he finds himself not wanting to go quite so unnoticed anymore…