Recorded as Cleworth, Cleaworth, Claworth, Clayworth, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational from the village of Clayworth in Nottinghamshire, or from Cleworth, a now "lost" village believed to have been in South Lancashire. Clayworth is recorded as Clavorde in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, and as Claworth circa 1130 in ancient registers of Nottinghamshire. It derives from the pre 7th Century word "clawu" literally meaning a claw or cloven hoof, but used here in a transferred topographical sense to describe a tongue of land or river fork, plus "worth", a homestead or farm. The village is situated at the junction of two streams. The former Lancashire village shares the same meaning and derivation. Early examples of recordings include that on October 6th 1548 of Margerie Cleworth and James Hutton who were married in Leigh, Lancashire, whilst on January 15th 1617 John Cleaworth was christened at St. Dionis Backchurch, city of London, and on December 11th 1665, Robert Clayworth was christened at Lenton, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Cleworthe, of Hulton. This was dated 1332, in the Lay Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111rd, known as "The Father of the English Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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