This Yorkshire-Lancashire habitational name is well recorded in several spellings and derives from a now "lost" place but believed to have been in the Ingleton area. The name translates as "The meadows (Thwaite) amongst the hawthorn woods". The emergence of the name at the end of the seventeenth Century strongly suggests that the original village was forcibly cleared for sheep farming and the inhabitants scattered to the four winds. This would account for the multitude of spellings which include Margaret Hatherwhet (1671), Katherin Haythornewhite (1673), Margaret Haythornewhitt (1675) and the more usual spellings such as Isabella Hawthornethwaite (1632, ClaphaM), Jacob Haythornthwaite (1700, Slaidburn) and John Hathornthwaite (1705, Bolton by Bowland).The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Hathurnwaite, which was dated August 19th 1627, christened at Clapham, North Yorkshire, during the reign of King Charles I, "The Martyr", 1625 - 1649. 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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