This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical surname, found chiefly in the Northern counties of England, used in the first instances to denote residence near brushwood or on the edges of a wood. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "aet thaem trus", translating as "at the brushwood", which in Middle English became "atten trus"; gradually the preposition "atte" was dropped and the surname became, by misdivision, Natrus(s), Natris(s) and Natras(s). Other English surnames formed by a similar misdivision include Nash, from "atten ash", and Noke(s), from "atten oak". The Olde English term "trus" was often used of the undergrowth in and around woodland, thus coming to indicate also "fallen leaves and humus". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname development has included: Nateris (1578); Natris (1588); Natrise (1591); Nattris (1614); and Nattrisse (1625). In Durham, the marriage of John Nattriss and Jane Charlton was recorded in Houghton le Spring, on July 29th 1627. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margret Nattresse, which was dated September 24th 1570, christened at Gainford, County Durham, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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