This long-established surname recorded in many forms including Horwood, Howood and Horsewood, is English. It is residential from residence by a muddy wood, or locational from any of the various places so called. These places include Horwood, in Devonshire, recorded as "Horewode" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the parish and village of Horwood near Winslow in Buckinghamshire, noted as "Horwudu" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, dated 792. The ancient country manor, Horwood House, is in this parish. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to the lord of the manor. Later in medieval times as people left their home villages to seek work in the developing economy, the place name would be given as an easy means of identification to those who settled elsewhere. Spelling and writing being at best problematical, and local dialects being very thick, soon lead to the development of variant surnames. In this case early examples of the surname recordings include William de Horwode of Kent in1273; Alex de Horewod of Buckinghamshire in the same year, and William del Horsewode of Staffordshire in 1332. Later recordings taken from church registers include on March 23rd 1566, Willyam Horwood, who was christened at St. Mary's church,Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, and James Howood, aged 30 yrs., one of the first emigrants to New England. He embarked from London on the ship "Christian" bound for Virginia in March 1634. The first recording of the surname is probably that of Osbert de Horwude, in the "Curia Regis" rolls of Hampshire in the year 1214. This was during the reign of King John of England, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216.
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