This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "box", box tree, in any of a number of possible applications. It may have been a topographical name for someone who lived by a box thicket, or a locational name for someone from one of the places called Box: in Gloucestershire, recorded as "La Boxe" in the 1261 Death Registers, in Hertfordshire, recorded as "Boxe" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in Wiltshire, recorded as "Bocza" in the Ancient Charters (1144). Box wood is very hard and because of this it was used to make a variety of tools; the name may therefore also have been a metonymic occupational name for a worker in the wood. In some cases it may even have been a nickname for a person with pale or yellow skin, for example as the result of jaundice, with reference to the colour of box wood. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). Alan de Boxe is listed in the 1198 Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire and Adam Box is noted in the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London (1276). In 1545, Martha, daughter of William Box, was christened in London. One John Box, aged 23 yrs., is recorded as living in Virginia, having gone over in the "Trueloue" in 1622. A Coat of Arms granted to the Box family is a blue shield with a gold lion passant between three gold griffins head's erased, the Crest being an arm couped at the elbow, lying fesseways, habited red, cuffed silver, holding erect in the hand proper, a branch of green box, at the elbow another branch of green box erect. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Box, which was dated 1181, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", 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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