This very unusual name is of pre 7th century Olde English and later Anglo-Saxon origins. It is probably topographical, but may also be occupational and denotes somebody who resided or worked near brushwood or on the edges of a wood. It is also possible that some nameholders may derive from a now 'lost' medieval site, of which the surname is the only surviving reminder. At least five thousand British surnames derive from lost sites, and the known number grows all the time. The origination is from the phrase "aet thaem trus", which in the fullness of time became shortened to "atten trus", and thence as the preposition "atte" was dropped, the surname developed into the modern spelling forms of Natrus, Natris, Natrass and Nattrass. 'A trus' was strictly speaking fallen leaves and humus, giving further credence to the name being job descriptive, for one who prepared leaf mold for fertiliser. A similar process of surname development is to be seen in the surnames "Nash", which derived from "atten ash" and Nokes, from "atten oaks". The name recoprdings include such examples as Alice Natrise, christened in London in 1591 and Ann Nattrass, who married James Hartley at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, London, on the 22nd September 1784. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Raphe Natris, which was dated 2nd February 1558, who was married at St. Mary Somerset, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 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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