This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly it may derive from the Anglo-Norman French "k(i)ew" meaning cook, and would have originated as an occupational surname for a cook. It may also have been used for one who sold cooked meat or one who kept an eating house. Another possibility is that it is of English locational origin from a place thus called in Surrey. The placename is composed of the old English pre 7th Century "caeg" a key, projection and "hoh" a ridge, slope; hence "a projecting piece of land", since kew is in a sharp bend of the Thames. Kew may also be a delictually transposed locational name from a now lost town "Caieu" in North France. The surname was first recorded in the late 12th Century, (see below). John de Caiho was one of the sheriffs of London in 1201-1202. William Kue is recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire (1203). In the modern idiom the name is found as Kew, le Keux and Lequeux. On February 27th 1596, Joane, daughter of Thomas Kew, was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Cu, witness, which was dated 1196, in the "Fine court Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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