This unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is either a topographical surname or a locational one, in both cases found mainly in Cumberland round the Ulverston area and near the border with Lancashire. As a topographical name 'Gaweth', 'Gawith' and 'Gawth' are dialectual variants of the Middle English word 'garth', meaning 'enclosed ground used as a yard, garden, or paddock', and also in some cases, 'a farm'. The derivation is from the Olde Norse 'garthr', Old Swedish 'gardher', and the surname denoted residence by such a 'garth'. The prevalence of the name around Ulverston suggests that there was a place called 'Gawith' near there, generating some at least of the modern surname bearers. Agnes Gawith married John Butler on the 7th July 1566 at Dalton-in-Burness, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Esabell Gowith, christened, which was dated 5th February 1551, Ulverston, Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward VI, The Boy King, 1547 - 1553. 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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