This interesting surname, widely recorded in Norfolk, may be either a topographical name from residence by a children's home or school attached to some monastery, or locational from a now "lost" village called Childerhouse originally in that county. The prime cause of the lost village phenomenon was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348. The component elements of the name are the Old English pre 7th Century "cildra", genitive plural of "cild", child, plus "hus", house; hence, "Cildra-hus". One, William de Childerhous, witness, was recorded in the "Fine court Rolls of Norfolk", dated 1272, and an Alex del Childrehus in the 1273 Hundred Rolls. Guy Childerhouse was rector of Stiffkey, Norfolk, in 1413, and on July 6th 1578 Thomas Childerhowse and Elizabeth Dimond were married in Attleborough, Norfolk. On May 24th 1596, Edward Childerhouse married an Elizabeth Jonson in St. Julian's, Norwich. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hemericus de Chiderhus, which was dated 1230, The Close Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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