This is an English locational surname. Recorded as Hathwood and Heathwood, it may have originated from a place called Hatherwood Point in the Isle of Wight, or more likely from some now "lost" medieval village, of which the only reminder in the 20th century, is the surviving surname. It is estimated that over five thousand villages and hamlets have disappeared from the gazetters of the British Isles over the past five hundred years, mainly as a result of changed agricultural practices, although plague and sometimes war, have played some part. Nearly all these places have provided surnames, so the lost village surname forms one of the largest groups within the surname lists. The surname appears to mean the wood on the heath, which is wholly logical, over eighty percent of the country being effectively heath in Roman times. By the end of the First Millenium this had shrunk to only about thirty percent, and is now down to ten percent or less. Early examples of the surname recording include those of Sara Hathwood, the daughter of Thomae Hathwood, who was christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on April 13th 1638, and John Heathwood who married Ann Williams at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, in the city of London, on April 16th 1688.
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