This name, with variant spellings Blyth, Blyde and Bligh is of English locational origin from Blyth in Northumberland or Nottinghamshire. both places, recorded as Blida in the Pipe Rolls of the respective counties, dated 1130, derive their name from situation by the Rivers Blyth and Blide, so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "blithe" meaning "merry" and "cheerful". Blythe or Blithe in Warwickshire was also named from location by a merry chattering stream and some namebearers may hail from this county. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, (see below). One, Gilbert de (of) Blie appeared in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire, dated 1200, and a Robert de Blythe in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire (1332). It must also be noted that the Olde English "blithe" was, in some instances given as a nickname to a bright cheerful person as in Robert Blithe (Norfolk, 1221) and John Blythe (The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, 1296). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Blitha, which was dated 1177, The Pipe Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as the Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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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