Last name: Tenniswood

This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Tin(n)iswood, Tenneswood, and Tinswood, recorded in Church Registers of Northern England from the late 16th Century, is of locational origin from a minor, unrecorded or now lost place believed to have been in Yorkshire. The enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century was a prime cause of village "disappearance", along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348. The component elements of the placename are believed to be the Old English pre 7th Century personal byname "Tynne", a side form of "Tunne", itself a metonymic occupational name for a maker of tuns or large casks, plus "wuda", a wood; hence "Tynne's wood". On August 27th 1578, Christopher Teniswood, an infant, was christened in St. Martin Coney Street, Yorkshire. Elizabeth Tenniswood was christened on March 4th 1880 at the Church of St. Martin, Coney Street, in York. In 1603, one Robert Teniswood of Talkin, Cumbria, held "a tenent and grounds" south of the River Gelt, and in 1618, a Nicholas Tinniswood of Talking was noted in "Lord William Howard's Handbook". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Tinniswood, which was dated 1570, in the "Magnus Mallindu", by Louis Tracy, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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