This interesting surname is of topographical origin for a "dweller by the hill", deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "beorg" or the Old High German "berg" meaning a hill or mountain. However, it is also suggested that the surname derives from the Old English "burh" or Old High German "burg" meaning a fort. In the Middle Ages any sizeable habitation had to be fortified, so the surname may refer to "one who lived by the fort". The surname is first recorded in the mid 15th Century, (see below).In the modern idiom the surname has many spelling variations, including Burroughes, Burrows, Burrus, Burris, Burriss and Borrows. On September 21st 1572, William, son of Nicholas Burrows, was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster. The marriage of Ellen Burrows to Edward Richardson took place on May 13th 1582, at St. Antholin Budge Row, London. One Anthony Burrows was an early settler in the American colonies; he is recorded as living "att West and Sherlow hundred" in a "List of the Living in Virginia" compiled on February 16th 1623. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Burhus, which was dated 1440, "A Descriptive Catalogue of Sheffield Manorial Records", during the reign of King Henry V1, "The Founder of Eton", 1422 - 1485. 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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