Recorded as Cartwright and the dialectal or transposition Cartwight, this is an English surname. It is occupational and originally described a "machine" maker, which could have included other agricultural equipment as well as hoists and cranes, but in time it became specialised to what we know as horse drawn vehicles. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "craet", or an adaptation of the Norse word "kartr", with the Olde English "wyrhta", meaning a craftsman, and a derivative of "wyrcan", to make. This latter element appears in a number of medieval surnames such as Wainwright, a maker of wagons, and Wheelwright, a wheel-maker. Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary when a son followed his father into the same line of business. Interestingly although the surname Cartwright is recorded at the end of the 13th century (see below), as a vocabulary word it does not occur before the 15th century. The early name development included: Richard le Cartwrytte of Cheshire in 1290, William le Cartewryght of Yorkshire in 1301, and Henry Cartwright, who married Alyce Lvnne on May 30th 1579, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, in the city of London. John Cartwright was an early settler in Virginia, and is listed as "living in James Cittee" in 1623. The "Arms" usually associated with the name is on an ermine shield a black fesse between three black fireballs fired proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Cartwereste. This was dated 1275, in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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