This is an English locational surname which may have some association with the similar name of Mottershead. Both relate to places which once existed, but apparently do not any longer and are therefore classed as 'lost' medieval villages. It is estimated that some five thousand such places have disappeared in the past six centuries as a result of changing farming practices, land enclosures and in particular creeping urbanisation. Mottershead was in early Victorian times a hamlet within the town of Mottram in Cheshire, and it is possible that Mottershaw, the name refers to a 'mott' or council meeting place by a wood, was in the same area as it is well recorded in Cheshire.Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village, usually in search of work, and thereafter were most easily identified by being called after their former home. Early examples of the surname recordings in the county of Cheshire include Thomas Mottershaw who married Martha Guring at St John the Baptist, Chester, on February 3rd 1638, and Ann Mottershaw who married George Steel at Sandbach, on Christmas Day, 1778.
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