Double barrelled names such as this are usually the result of a marriage between the two families, where the eventual name has no actual meaning as a unit although the two parts have their separate meaning and derivations. In this case the surname "Butt" is of medieval English origin and derives either from a personal name "But(t)", or from a topographical name for someone who lived near a place used for archery practice. The derivation for this interpretation is from the Middle English "But", mark for archery, target, goal. The surname is first recorded in the Court Rolls of Ramsey, 1114 - 1130 as "Walter But". The name "Gow" is Scottish and Cornish in origin and derived from the Gaelic "gobha", a smith. In England the name is found as "gough", pronounced "goff", which is in fact the Cornish\Breton equivalent of the Gaelic. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Gowe, which was dated 1230, The Somerset Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry III, "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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