The same "elite" surnames, such as Darcy, Mandeville and Montgomery, have attended Oxbridge since the Norman Conquest 800 years ago, it has been revealed.
The study, conducted at the London School of Economics, showed a disturbing lack of social mobility progress at the UK's top two institutions. There have been Darcys, Baskervilles, Berkeleys and Percys studying at the universities for 27 generations.
Dr Neil Cummins, one of the report's authors, said: "Just take the names of the Normans who conquered England nearly 1000 years ago. Surnames such as Baskerville, Darcy, Mandeville and Montgomery are still over-represented at Oxbridge and also among elite occupations such as medicine, law and politics."
"Poor" family names such as Boorman, Defoe, Goodhill and Ledwell, also remained low on the social scale, the team concluded.
Through the study of the genealogical history of English families with rare surnames, using data provided by Ancestry.com, the study deemed wealth, education and occupational status "highly heritable".
The research, by Dr Cummins and Professor Gregory Clark from the University of California-Davis, reveals even mass publicly funded education and universal voting rights have not improved social mobility in England.
“What is surprising is that between 1800 and 2011 there have been substantial institutional changes in England but no gain in rates of social mobility for society as a whole," Cummins added.
Their study also revealed that underlying social status, as revealed by education, is more strongly inherited than height.Suggest a correction