There are three possible sources of this unusual name of medieval English origin, the first being that it is a locational name from either of two places in Somerset, Chew Magna and Chew Stoke which are first recorded as "Ciw" in 1065 and "Chiwe" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and derive from a British (pre Roman) river name "Chew", which may have as its source the Welsh "cyw" which means a young animal; or a place in Yorkshire or Lancashire, so called from the Old English "ceo", fish gill (used in the transferred sense of a ravine). However, Chew may also have been a nickname for a talkative person, from the Old English "ceo", a bird related to the crow and jackdaw. Amongst the early recordings in Yorkshire are the christenings of Elinora Chew on July 18th 1619 at Maltby near Rotherham, and Henry Chew on July 8th 1660 at Gisburn. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alicia Chew (marriage to Thomas Forest), which was dated January 27th 1579, in Giggleswick, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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