Recorded as Boltwood and Boultwood, this is an English surname. It is locational and derives either from the village known as Boltonwood in Cumbria, or from a now 'lost' medieval village which was probably called 'Bopl - wudu' or similar. This translates as 'the house in the wood', or possibly 'the wood on the ridge'. At least five thousand British surnames are known to originate from 'lost' villages, and this name seems to be a good example of the genre. There are several explanations for 'lost' villages, including plague, civil war, and changes in farming practise, of which the latter is the most likely. From the 16th century and the begining of the Industrial Revolution, the demand for wool was such that all available land was turned over to sheep farming. This system required far fewer workers than arable farming, leading to a wholesale clearance of villages. Locational surnames were given to people after they moved to new locations, it being an easy identification to call people by the name of their former village. Early examples of the surname recording may include Ann Bolworth of Market Harborough, Leicestershire, on January 25th 1665, and certainly does include Ann Boltwood, who married William Rogers at the church of St Mary-le-Bone, London, on October 2nd 1790. An example of an unusual christian name is that of Zipporah Boultwood, who married William Kirk, at Hoxton on February 23rd 1823. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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