King William I ('The Conqueror'), by unknown a...

King William I (‘The Conqueror’), by unknown artist. See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch are listed as “unknown author” by the NPG, who is diligent in researching authors, and was donated to the NPG before 1939 according to their website. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What’s in a name? Apparently, a lot! Want to study at an elite university, but academically classed as a ‘dummkopf’, well, the prestige of a Norman surname going back 27 unbroken generations might do the trick! So if your House dates back to the time of William the Conqueror, you’re in!

Research undertaken by Dr Neil Cummins and Professor Gregory Clark of the London School of  Economics has revealed that surnames such as Darcys, Mandevilles, Percys, Montgomerys, Berkeleys, Baskervilles, Nevilles, Pakenhams, Punchards and Talbots have dominated the student rolls at Oxford and Cambridge over the last 800 years. These are just some of the Normans names who conquered England nearly 1,000 years ago. Presumably then, if you are historically valid but talk like Forrest Gump, you can still get into Oxbridge to read ‘Writing’ or any other subject. It’s nice to know that despite the smattering of human rights fed to us like breadcrumbs to ducklings, the English class system is still as healthy as ever. The ruling class still rules us, their fingers quietly around our throats!

I once tried to get into Oxford. I chose the name Copenhagen (after Wellington’s war-horse) and put down I wished to study ‘nincompoopary’. Regrettably the course was full…of Normans!