This picturesque and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a so called "lost" place, once situated near Burnley, in Lancashire. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century "catt", a wild cat, which, as a breed, were found in England as late as 1810, and "leah", a grove, clearing in a wood. The phenomenon of the "lost" village was generally a result of enforced land clearance during the 12th and 13th Centuries, in the height of the wool industry, as well as more natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. It is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such places that have disappeared from British maps. Among the recordings in Lancashire is the marriage of Catherin Catlow and Henri Rabic on November 16th 1567 at Garstang, and the christening of Janitta Catlow in January 1589 at Padiham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Catlowe, which was dated 1332, in the "Lancashire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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