This famous surname, always associated with Captain, and later Admiral, William Bligh, of HMS Bounty, and recorded in many spellings including Blyth, Blythe, Blyde, Bligh, Blything, etc. is of pre 8th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It is usually locational from the various places called Bligh, Blyth, or Blythe in the counties of Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, and Warwickshire. These places are recorded as "Blida" in the year 1130, and derive their name from being by the Rivers Blyth and Blide, so called from the word "blithe", meaning merry and cheerful. The locational surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century, and early recordings include: Gilbert de Blie, in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire, dated 1200, and Robert de Blythe, recorded in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire. In some cases the word "blithe" was given as a nickname to a bright cheerful person, as in Robert Blithe of Norfolk in 1221, and John Blythe, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. Recordings from later English church registers include the christening of Marget Blythe on November 19th 1552, at Westbourne, Sussex, and the christening of Edward Blyth, on May 12th 1580, at Selston, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Blitha, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Essex", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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