This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a topographical surname denoting residence by the river Medway, which runs through the counties of Kent and Sussex. The river name is recorded very early, in the Saxon Chronicles of 764, as 'medunuaeian' (meduwaen), and is derived from the British, pre-Roman, river name 'wey' or 'way', with the Celtic word 'medu', meaning 'mead' and referring to the colour of the water, a golden brown. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Medway Medeway and Meadway. The marriage between Mary Medway and John Thomas was recorded at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, on the 27th May 1680, while James Medway was christened at St. Michael's, Queenhithe, London, on the 16th June 1712. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander at the Medewaye, which was dated 1302, in the County Records of Sussex, 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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