This is a wonderful English surname of pre medieval origins. Recorded as Goshawk, Goshawke, and in early surviving church registers of the city of London, as Goschalk and Gottschalk, it is believed to be first recorded in East Anglia. In that respect we have the recording of William Goschawke, the rector of Bawsey in the county of Norfolk in 1540, although clearly other eary recordings may well be found in surviving, but perhaps unpublished, charters. As to why somebody should be called by this name is open to several interpretations. In our opinion it is similar to the surname Hawk, and as such it describes either a person of fierce and rapacious attitudes, or given the robust humour of the period, the complete reverse, or it is occupational. If the latter it probably describes either a keeper and trainers of hawks, or it may describe a hunter, one who used the hawk to hunt game. Occupational surnames did not usually become hereditary, unless a son followed his father into the same line of businesss.
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