This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in the counties of Warwick and Stafford. This however is unproven, but it is a fact that the epi-centre of church recordings of the surname is in that region. It has been estimated that seven thousand villages and hamlets have disappeared in the British Isles since the Middle Ages, as a result of such natural disasters as the Black Death plague of 1348, or to the widespread practice of "clearing" large areas of land as a result of the iniquituous 'Enclosure Acts' to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade in the 15th Century. 'Chat-way' (or whatever) may however have disappeared for a different reason. This surname, recorded in the spellings of Chatway, Chataway, and Chattaway, is believe to derive from the Olde English pre 7th century 'chat' meaning a forest or marshland, plus 'weg' - a path, to give 'a road way through the marsh'. It would therefore be logical that if the forest was cleared or the marsh drained, the original 'hamlet', would have disappeared as a normal development. Early examples of the surname recording taken from the church registers include the christening of William, son of Richard Chatway, on May 3rd 1689, at Berkswell, Warwickshire; the marriage of John Chattaway and Mary Butterick on May 12th 1745, at Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, and the christening of John, son of John Chataway, on November 7th 1749, at Tamworth, Staffordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gregory Chatway, which was dated 1669, witness at the christening of his son, Thomas, at Berkswell, Warwickshire, during the reign of King Charles 11, known as "The Merry Monarch", 1660 - 1685. 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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