This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a now "lost" village believed to have been in the Whalley area of Lancashire. The prime cause of village "disappearance" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade from the 15th Century onwards, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. The omponent elements of the placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century adjective "dewy", with the Olde English "hyrst" (Middle English "hurst", wooded hillock, especially one of a sandy nature). The initial element may also be the male given name "Dewey" or "Dewie", Welsh forms of David; hence "the dewy hurst", or "Dewey's hurst". On December 23rd 1538, John, son of Roger Dewhurst, was christened in Whalley, and on December 22nd 1644, Johis Dewhirst witnessed a christening at Heptonstall, Yorkshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is an ermine shield with three red escallops, the Crest being a wolf's head ermine. The escallop, or scallop shell, was used as a badge by pilgrims journeying to the Holy Land; it symbolizes venture to foreign lands, and inviolable fidelity on a Coat of Arms. The Motto, "Spes mea in Deo", translates as, "My hope is in God". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam del Dewyhirst, which was dated 1332, in the "Lay Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017