Norfolk Howard is slang term used in the UK to refer to a bedbug.

In the 1860s it became a bit of a fad to change your name. This was looked on with some derision by many people, with newspapers writing articles decrying (or in some cases, supporting) this practice. The masses felt that this was a snobbish affectation, and should be mocked... so mock they did. Some people surely did deserve their scorn; a Mr. Jones changing his name to St. Paul, for example, was clearly pure snobbery.

But in 1862 a man by the name of Joshua "Buggy" Bug outdid them all. He changed his name to Norfolk-Howard -- a reference to the wealthy and powerful Howard family, the hereditary Dukes of Norfolk. In the June 26th issue of The Times he had this notification published:

“I, Norfolk Howard, heretofore called and known by the name of Joshua Bug, late of Epsom, in the county of Surrey, now of Wakefield, in the county of York, and landlord of the Swan Tavern, in the same county, do hereby give notice, that on the 20th day of this present month of June, for and on behalf of myself and heirs, lawfully begotten, I did wholly abandon the use of the surname of Bug, and assumed, took, and used, and am determined at all times hereafter, in all writings, actions, dealings, matters, and things, and upon all other occasions whatsoever, to be distinguished, to subscribe, to be called and known by the name of Norfolk Howard only.

I further refer all whom it may concern to the deed poll under my hand and seal, declaring that I choose to renounce the use of the surname of Bug, and that I assume in lien thereof the above surnames of Norfolk Howard, and also declaring my determination, upon all occasions whatsoever, to be called and distinguished exclusively by the said surnames of Norfolk Howard, duly enrolled by me in the High Court of Chancery.

Dated this 23rd day of June, 1862. Norfolk Howard, late Joshua Bug.”

This drew no small commentary from pundits across the UK. The Northampton Mercury was particularly harsh, declaring that while a change to, say, John Buggins would have been appropriate, Norfolk Howard was practically evil:

"Had he, for a year or two, passed as J. Buggins, and then come forth as John or Joseph Buggins, we should never have denounced the innocent fraud.

But he has gone much further than the perpetration of a white lie.

The man who calls himself Norfolk Howard must be the snob of snobs.

To be ashamed of his own name is bad, but to affect a new high-sounding title, is atrocious vulgarity.

For such a criminal no plea can avail to obtain mercy.

He should be hung in terrorem as an example to all respectable men who are conscious of a sneaking wish to cease from being plain Jones or Robinson, and, as the law cannot punish his folly, let us hope that the facetiousness or confusion of his acquaintance may dub him for ever as Norfolk Bug.

Let him be fair game for all the punsters and witlings of his acquaintance, unprotected by any of those rules either of good sense or of good taste, which he has so outrageously set at defiance.”

This small scandal was passed around England with great amusement, and in short order (July 5th, 1862, in fact) Punch published a comic poem about the incident which explicitly encouraged people to call bugs Howards. And so they did.

Quoted passages come from Jack The Ripper Tour.

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