This interesting and unusual surname is of Scandinavian origin and is a locational surname from a so called 'lost' place, thought to have once been situated in Yorkshire, owing to the numerous recordings in that county. The derivation is from an Old Danish personal name 'Mothir' and the Old English pre 7th Century 'leah', a grove, thus Mothir's grove. The phenomenon of the lost village was generally as a result of enforced land clearance to make way for sheep pasture during the 12th Century at the height of the wool industry, as well as more natural occurrences, such as war and plague. It is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such places that have disappeared from British maps. One Marie Moverley was christened on March 31st 1611 at St. Peter's, Huddersfield, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Mowverlea (christening), which was dated October 20th 1555, St. James, Garlickhithe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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