Recorded as Clew, Clow, Clowe, Clough, Cluff, Cloghe, Clougher (England), Cleugh and Cleugher (Scotland) and in Devonshire, South West England, Cloke, Cloak, Cloake, and Clooke, this is an English surname of ancient origins. It derives from the pre 7th century word "cloh" meaning a ravine or very steep valley, and is either residential for somebody who had lived at such a place, or perhaps was occupational for a person who worked at a "clogh". Locational and residential surnames are "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads to move somewhere else. The medieval fable known as "A lytell geste of Robin Hood" contains the passge - "Had we the keys," said Clim o' the Clogh, "Ryghte wel then should we spede". Early examples of the surname development includes Roster Clogh of Oxfordshire in 1279, John del Clogh of Yorkshire in 1298, Richard Cluff of Staffordshire in 1428, whilst in Devonshire Richard Cloke married Alicia Parre at Buckland Monachorum on the 13th June 1551. 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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