This interesting and unusual name is of Scottish locational origin from a place "Linlithgow", between Edinburgh and Falkirk, which was named from the British words related to the Welsh "llyn", lake, pool, and "llaith", damp plus "cau", hollow. In the 13th and 14th Centuries the name appears both with and without the first surname. It is assumed that "Lithgow" was the name of the settlement and "Linlithgow" that of the lake. "Lithgow" was also associated folk etymology with the Gaelic elements "liath", grey and "cu", clog, hound, and such a figure appears on the medieval borough seal.The name first appears in Scotland in the early 13th Century, (see below). One Petrus de Linlithgw was a Canon of the Priory of St. Andrews in 1245. Peter Linlighku, granted a charter on the sale of a tenement in Berwick-on-Tweed in 1280. John de Lithcu "rendered to the Exchequer the account of his disbursements in connection with obsequies of Robert 1 (1306-1329). Perhaps the best known of the name was William Lithgow, a celebrated traveller, whose "rare adventures and paineful peregrinations in Europe, Asia and Africa", was published in 1640. The name is found as Lythgoe, Lethgoe and Leithgoe in Lancashire. John Leithgoe was christened at Leigh, Lancashire on December 30th 1562. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Magister Symon de Lynlithcu, which was dated 1225, witnessed an instrument at the church of Cargil, Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 11, "Ruler of Scotland", 1214 - 1249. 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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