This unusual surname is of medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Petworth, from a place so called in Sussex, which was first recorded as 'Peteorde' in the Domesday Book of 1086, as 'Petwurtha' in the Pipe Rolls of 1168, and as 'Peteswurda' circa 1150 in 'Documents Preserved in France'. The derivation is from an Old English personal name 'Peota', with 'warth', which corresponds to the Old Low German 'wurth', soil, and the Middle Low German 'wurt', a homestead. The following examples illustrate the name development after 1538 (see below): Joane Betsworth (1549) and Elizabeth Bettsworth (1551). Peter Bettesworth married Margaret Goulding on May 1st 1634 at St. Gregory by St. Paul. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter Bettesworth, which was dated August 25th 1538, Stedham, Sussex, during the reign of King Henry V111, 'Good King Hal', 1509-1547. 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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