A smith was a common trade or occupation and would contribute to the prevalence of the surname Smith.
Examples of smiths include:
- Arrowsmith - making heads for arrows
- Armoursmith - making armour
- Blacksmith - working in iron and steel making common objects such as knives, nails, tools, hinges. etc.
- Goldsmith - working in gold and silver
- Locksmith - making locks
- Swordsmith - making swords
The smith was an integral part of Euro-medieval life, and various legends grew up, regarding, among others, Wayland (whose name was attached to a prehistoric barrow grave on the Wiltshire Downs in southern England). Wayland originated with the Saxons, but he became seen, rather than as a god, as an elf, who could therefore be hired to do work for mortals. So a horse that needed shoeing would be left at a ritual site, with one or two copper pennies as payment, overnight, in the faith that, by morning the necessary would have been done.