It seems to be a long-standing and fairly fundamental perception in English law that people may assume or use any name they so like. I’ve seen this discussed in House of Lords decisions, possibly also court of appeal ones, and it further came up last night in a discussion with an English person on the history of personal monikers in England and the proposition that all English surnames come from one of four origins (patronymic, locative, profession, personal characteristic).
In any event, what is the basis and/or rationale for that doctrine, and what are the particular terms of its functioning?
Has it changed and evolved over the centuries? What did it mean in the past? Was there an expectation that one maintained a consistent identity across all of the spheres and contexts in their life over any one period? Or could one assume one identity in their work, another at university, and then marry under yet another name? And maintain all of these identities simultaneously?
Or is it more to say that any time one wishes to change their moniker they are allowed to so long as they assume that new identity in all aspects of their life?
To what extent and how has that doctrine changed over the years, and did the domesday book play a pivotal role in the situation changing?