The surname Moss is widespread in England and is primarily topographical in origin. It derives from the Anglo-Saxon word ‘mos’, meaning a bog or swamp, and may have applied originally to a family living near a peat bog. There are also many place names that include the word ‘moss’, and so, in some instances, the surname may have come from a pre-existing village or town. Moss is also a pet form of the name Moses.
The defining feature of the Moss family of this history, at least from the middle of the nineteenth century and for the hundred years following, was the River Thames, that great river which, until only 50 years ago, was the artery that supplied the life blood to the beating heart of London. Its twists and turns dictated the destiny of the Moss family: where they lived, how they lived, and who they married, shaping its fortunes from the 1850s to the 1970s.
A panorama of London in 1616 showing the city stretching along the north and south banks of the River Thames with London Bridge linking the two