This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is from an occupational name for a maker of carts. The name derives from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) word "cart", a transposed form of the Olde English pre 7th Century "craet", cart, or an adaptation of the Old Norse form "kartr", with the Olde English "wyrhta, wryhta", craftsman, a derivative of "wyrcan", to work, 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 later became hereditary. 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 name development since then includes: Richard the Cartwrytte (1290, Cheshire), and William le Cartewryght (circa 1300, Yorkshire). Henry Cartwright married Alyce Lvnne on May 30th 1579, at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, and John Cartwright was an early settler in Virginia; he is listed as living in "James City" in 1623. The Coat of 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, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcesterhowe", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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