This is a locational surname which derives from a 'lost' hamlet or site, in the area of East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire between Howden and Gainsborough. The medieval rolls do not appear to list any such place, but the preponderance of recordings, clearly point to this region. There are some five thousand 'lost' medieval villages in England alone, whose memory survives purely through the modern surname, and seemingly Bellwood is one of this number. The name is probably Olde English in origin, deriving from the ancient word 'belc' which translates as 'a hill' plus 'wode' - a wood, the wood on the hill. However as the area is completely flat, the possibility exists that 'Bell' is a corrupt form of a personal name such as 'Belingas', a well known tribe of East Anglia. Early examples of the surname taken from church records include Johannis Bellwood, whose daughter Agnes was christened at Howden on Boxing Day, 1551, whilst John Bellwoode married Agnes Sawer at Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, on January 24th 1579. Other records are those of Mary Bellwoode christened at Gainsborough on April 12th 1579, and Anne Bellwood, the daughter of Roger, christened at St Olaves Church, York on January 28th 1620. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Bellwoode, which was dated May 3rd 1548, christened at Howden, East riding of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as 'The boy king' 1547 - 1554. 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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