This is an English locational surname. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardlsey writing in 1880 'From an inconsiderable hamlet, this (Fleetwood in Lancashire) has grown to be an important seaboard town'. It is likely that it was an important town several centuries earlier when the surname first appears, but if so it may have fallen on hard times, which was why people left. What is certain is that whilst Fleetwood as a surname does originate from the town of Fleetwood, being a locational name it is a 'from' name. That is to say a name which was given to a stranger after he or she left Fleetwood and settled somewhere else. This did not have to be far away, as shown in the following recording, it could be the next village, but it did not alter the fact that the easiest way to identfy a stranger was to name them after the place from whence they came. The early examples of the surname recordings prove this point. Perhaps the first was Elizabeth Fleetwood of Rossall, who died in 1624, and whose Will was recorded at Richmond in Yorkshire. She lived only about five miles from Fleetwood, but it was far enough to get her her surname. The place name is ancient and is believed to mean 'the wood by the river', from the pre 7th century Olde English 'flete-wudu'.
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