The famous town of Gainsborough in Lincolnshire is first recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles dated 1013 a.d. It is then described as Gaeignesburgh before becoming Gainesburg in the 1086 Domesday Book. The name translates as "Gaenbealds Fortress" the nameholder in question being of Norse-Viking 9th century origin, and a warrior of considerable repute. The "modern" surname, with its variant spelling forms, is much later, indeed how much later is a matter of some dispute. Normally locational or habitational surnames such as Gainsborough, and its variant forms Gainsburgh, Gainsboro, Gainsborough, Gainsbury etc, derive either from the original Lord of the Manor, or from moving from the area, and by being given or taking the name of the former place of residence, as a descriptive surname. In this case we have no definite proof either way, except to say that the name in its original spelling is most popular in its home county of Lincoln, although variants such as the dialectal "Gainsbury" seems to have"originated" in Norfolk. Here the records shown an Alice Gainsbury married William Buttle at Anmer, on October 6th 1688. However spelt the name will be for ever famous as being that of the artist Thomas Gainsborough, born in Sudbury, Suffolk, and an original member of the Royal Academy in 1768. The original name holder as shown below was one of the "embassy" sent to Phillip 1V of France in 1299, by Edward 1st. He also visited Pope Boniface V111, and was later appointed to the See of Worcester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gainsborough, which was dated 1250? - 1307, Divinity lecturer to the Franciscans at Oxford, 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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