Recorded as Clews, Cluse, Clowes, Clows, and Clowser, this is an early medieval English surname. It has tow possible origins. Firstly, it may be a topographical surname for someone living in an enclosed place, such as (in towns) a courtyard set back from the main street, or (in country districts) a farmyard. The derivation is from the Middle English "clos(e)", from the Old French "clos", from the Late Latin "clausum", a derivative of "claudere", to close, shut. Secondly, the name may have developed from a nickname for someone considered to be secretive, reticent, or reserved, derived from the Middle English "clos(e)", secret. The first recording of the surname (below) is from this source; early recordings of the name include: Thomas del Close (1327, Yorkshire) and John Cloos (1409, London). London Church Registers record the marriage of Peter Close and Mary Thomas at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, on June 5th 1569, and of William Close and Avis Wimsoll at St. Mary Aldermary, on November 30th 1572. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Clos, which was dated 1214, in the "Curia Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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