This interesting name, with the variants Esherwood and Usherwood, is of English origin and is locational from a now so called "lost" village in the Parish of Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire. The name is first found in Lancashire records in the 13th Century and is still largely confined to that area. The derivation could either be from the personal name "Ishere", hence meaning, "Isheres" wooded land, or it could be "the wood of the usher" (door keeper) as the early pre 17th Century spellings being with either a Y or a U. The phenomenon of the "lost" village was the result of enforced land clearance for sheep pasture in the Middle Ages, as well as the more natural cause such as plague, war and those migrating to seek work elsewhere. An early recording of the name found in Standish, Lancashire is of one Elizabeth Isherwood who married Milo Standanought in 1571. The most notable bearer of the name is one Christopher Isherwood, novelist (1904 - 1986) whose family were landowners in Cheshire since the 16th Century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Serwude, which was dated 1246, in the "Assize Rolls", Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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