Recorded in several spellings including High, Highe, Hie, and locational compounds such as Highfield, Highlands, and Highwood, this is an English surname. It has three possible origins. It may originally have been a medieval nickname for a particularly tall man or even given the robust humour of those far off times, a short one, or it may be topographic for a dweller on a hilltop or high place. The derivation in both cases is from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "heah" or the later hie, both meaning "high".As examples Robert atte Heghe and a Richard atte High were recorded in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex in 1327 and 1332 respectively. As a locational name it comes from any of the nine Highwood hamlets and villages mainly to be found in the south of England. Examples of the surname recordings tasken from surviving church registers include Richard Highe, who was christened at St. Andrew's by the Wardrobe, in the city of London of September 15th 1565, and on February 27th 1577, Margaret Hie, who was christened at St. Giles Cripplegate. On November 30th 1618 Humphry Highwood married Margaret Bensteed at St Katherines by the Tower (of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Gilbert le High. This was dated 1327, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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