This is an English name of some antiquity, originating in Yorkshire and still found mainly in that county. The source is a nickname for a cautious, prudent or wise man, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "gleaw", meaning wise or prudent, Middle English "glew". It was a common practice in medieval England to create a surname from a nickname, and in this instance it was reinforced by the occasional use of "Glew" or "Glue" as personal names, for example, Radulfus filius Gleu (Yorkshire, 1219). Early examples of the surname include: Rannulf Glowe (Somerset, 1201); Agnes Glewe (Huntingdonshire, 1273), and Peter Glew, the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, dated 1301. In the 1379 Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire the surname takes the forms Glewe, Glwe and Glugh. On August 12th 1629, Robert Glew and Alice Woolley were married at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. One Thomas Glew, a soldier under the command of Major Thomas Helmes in the Barbadoes, was recorded on a Militia Rolls pertaining to those islands in 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Gleu, which was dated 1168, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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