Hi All

I am a bit later entering into this stream and if I turn out to be covering old ground please except my apology in advance.

I am not a descendant of the surname 'Saul'. However, because of a document relating to my own ancestor, a William John Rourke, where the surname Saul crops up, I have some material which may eventually help someone who came from the area of Downpatrick, Co Down Ireland.

I was trying to pinpoint my own Rourke to a place in Co Down, without success. I then used a little bit of lateral thinking & went searching for the 'Saul' surname instead - originally for the era of 1848.

I found a Thomas M Saul, & his family, living in Down Parish in the year 1846 - Scotch St, Downpatrick - & he was a wine & spirit merchant & grocer. There were a number of other Sauls there also.

Given that surnames did not come into use until around the 15th century - and then a little later in Ireland, it may be that the name was originally a place name. Of course the village of Saul is just outside Down. Did the name evolve via place names and religion? – I think it could turn out to be a bit of both. If Saul was a place name, few with it would be related, I suspect.

I am not terribly sure I believe the version of the Catholic Encyclopedia and the 'barn' being the cause of the name, and I am a Catholic!

Roughy speaking, a form of Christianity was already in both Britain and Ireland based on the Judiac sense before it underwent a metamorphosis and became ‘Pauline’ or Roman Christianity. St Paul of course was formerly known as Saul of Tarsus & had a turbulent background before he changed.

Controvery also surrounds St Patrick, who it is said, was out of the good books of Rome when he went to Ireland – so frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if St Patrick practiced his own form of Judiac Christianity when he first went to Ireland – all conjecture of course, and you can hang me out to dry for that, if you want. Ireland was said to be the great seat of learning after the death of Christ – but all was lost or destroyed when Roman Christianity took over.
Saul could be similar to the name of ‘Cluney’ and it’s derivatives. As a place name, a lot of Cluney/Clune etc surnames would have derived from the place where the Cluny Monastery/Church was built– (Cluniacs; from the reformed Benedictine Monastery built at Cluney, (Clugney) Saone et Loire, Macon, France, which was founded in 910 by Duke William of Aquitaine. The famous Mother Church (the building took up 25 acres) spread to 15 more in the then known world)

Also to press my point...There is a place called Cluney in Australia that was previously the name of a property owned by the McPhersons of Scotland. Originally, the clan of McPherson was called Cluney and both of them were brothers. Cluney never produced any heirs so his brother McPherson took over as leader & the clan became McPherson – which simply means ‘son of a preacher”…
Cheers Maureen