This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and can be either a locational or a topographical surname. It is found chiefly in Lancashire and the northern English counties, and as a locational name derives from some place in Lancashire that is now 'lost', and has disappeared from the maps. This is true of a surprising number of English surnames which are all that remain of many villages and hamlets due particularly to the forced 'clearing' of such places to create sheep pastures in the 14th Century. Leathwood means 'the barns by the wood', from the Olde Scandinavian 'Llatha', barn, or lathe, with Olde English 'wudu', wood. The topographical form of the surname denotes residence at or by such barns. Ann, daughter of William Leathwood, was christened at Warrington, Cheshire, on the 14th October 1636. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Andrew Lethwoode, married to Ellen Rigby, which was dated 3rd November 1550, Chorley, Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward VI, The Boy King, 1547 - 1553. 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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