Double barrelled surnames are the (usually) Victorian equivalent of the 8th Century Anglo-Saxon compound personal names. These were generally built up of two elements which individually had a meaning, but not when conjoined. They succeeded however, in their purpose, which was to easily identify a person. In this case "Gorst" derives from the Old English "Gors", and is habitational for one who lived in an area of gorse bushes, whilst Unsworth is locational and villages of this name are found in both Lancashire and Tyneside. The derivation is Norse-Viking pre 7th Century (hund-worp) which translates as "Dog Farm" and probably relates to a place where hunting dogs were trained. Recorded as Hundeswrth in 1291, Alex Unsworthe was christened at St. Mary's Church, Rochdale on June 11th 1595. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de la Gorst, which was dated 1275, in the "Pipe Rolls of the City of Worcestershire", 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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