This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and could be either locational or topographical. In the first instance it might be applied to someone from Longshaw in Derbyshire. As a topographical name it would be applied to "a dweller by a copse", from the two Anglo-Saxon words embodied in Longshaw, "long" meaning long, and "scega" meaning shaw of copse. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. There is interestingly enough a Longshaw township in Longhorseley Parish, Northumberland. It is not known if this place also gave rise to the surname Longshaw. The surname had already clearly emerged by the latter part of the 13th Century (see below). An early recording of the surname under a variant spelling is that of Frances, daughter of Dennis Lenshaw, who was christened in May 1614, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London. One Robert, son of William Longshaw, was christened on April 2nd 1643, at Waddington, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Langchawe, which was dated 1297, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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