Recorded in many spellings a shown below, this is an English surname. Deriving from the pre 7th century word "cloh" it is residential for either a person who came from a place called Clogh or Clough, or it described someone who lived near a steep-sided valley. Since much of England has steep sided valleys, it is not surprising that this is one of the earliest of recorded surnames. In addition residential or locational surnames, were names generally given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. An exception to this rule is the suffix ending of "-er" as in Clougher, which actually describes a person who is resident at a place called Clogh. The recorded development of the surname includes Roster Clough of Oxfordshire in 1279, John del Clogh of Yorkshire in 1298, Richard Cluff of Staffordshire in 1344), and in Devonshire, Robert Cloake in 1597, and Thomas Clooke in 1689. The modern surname can be found as Cleugh (Scottish) Clough, Clougher, Clogher, Cloake, Cloke, Cluff, Clow, Clew, Clewer, Clue, Clues, Clewes and others. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Clowe. This was dated 1275, in the Worcestershire Subsidy Tax Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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