This very old name is in fact locational and derives from the Anglo-Saxon 'forp-eg' meaning 'an island in a fen' or occasionally 'a paddock by a farm - forp-teag'. The name is found in the village names: Forty Green in Essex, the Forty in Wiltshire and Forty Hill, Middlesex. The name development has included Thomas de la Fortheye (c. 1325 Worcester), John atte Fortheye (1297 Berkshire) and John de la Fortye (1318 Berkshire). John Forten (as spelt) was an early settler to New England in 1635 he was aged fourteen. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Forteye which was dated 1275 in the Pipe Rolls of Worcester. during the reign of King Edward 1 known as the Hammer of the Scots 1272-1307 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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