Recorded in several spellings including Catsworth, Coatsworth, Coatswith, and Cotesworth, this is an English surname. It is clearly locational from some place which was probably in Olde English originally spelt "Cota's worp" or similar and meaning the place (worth) of Cota, the latter being an early pre 7th century personal name which is found in many early place names. It could also mean "cot" as in a short form of cottage, and therefore describe a cottage in a wood. Locational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification after they left their original homes and moved somewhere else. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. If as seems to be the case with this surname, the village itself has disappeared, the fate of over three thousand British Isles places over the past five hundred years, then the name spelling becomes even more variable. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Thomas Cotsworth, a witness at St Brides church Fleet Street, on August 7th 1636, and Bethia Coatsworth, who was christened at Christ Church, Spitalfields, on September 28th 1698.
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