Recorded in the spellings of Morewood and Moorwood, this is an ancient English locational surname. There are several places recorded as Moorwood or Morewood, but the early rolls, charters, and registers clearly indicate that most if not all, nameholders originate from the Yorkshire village of Moorwood six miles from the city of Sheffield. The village name derives from the pre 7th century words 'mor' meaning a fen or wasteland, and 'wudu', a plantation or forest. As fifteen hundred years ago much of England was covered by forest, there was probably a more significant local meaning to the name than is now apparent. What is certain is that as early as 1273 in the famous records known as the Hundred Rolls, for the county of Lincoln is found the recording of Ralph de Morwode. 'Locational' surnames are by their very nature 'from' names. That is to say that they were usually given to people after they left their original homes and moved elsewhere, it being the easiest former of identification to call people by the name of the place from whence they came. This also lead to the development of variant spellings, but as few people knew the 'correct spelling' in anycase, this did not matter. Other early examples of the surname include Alicia de Morewod, who may well have been the lady of the manor of Moorwood. She is recorded in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, whilst in the church registers of London for the 18th century is found the marriage of Andrew Moorwood and Elizabeth Sherman at St James Church, Clerkenwell, on July 1st 1740.
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