The early recordings of this late medieval English West Country name are found in the spellings of Nothwey, Nethwey, Neathway(e), Neathaway, Neatheway and Netherwaye - all in Worcestershire. The name first appears in London in 1641, when Nicholas Netherwaytes married Margaret Craddocke, at St. James' Church, Clerkenwell, on April 26th of that year. The name is habitational and would seem to derive from a now "lost" medieval village, but if so, "Neathway" in any associated spelling is not on the lost village list. It is therefore possible that the name is topographical for one who lived "Beneath the Way", on the lowside of the road or ridge, similar surnames being "Bitheway" (by the way), "Attway" (at the way), and Holloway", (the dweller by the sunken road). The early recordings include Thomas Neathwaye, also recorded as Neathway, a christening witness at Bredon, Worcester, on September 5th 1585, (and probably the same person as in the first recording below), and Henry Neathway, who married Alice Read, on October 6th 1669, at Ripple. On July 14th 1873, William Neathway married Elizabeth Thatcher, at Overbury, Worcester. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Nothwey, which was dated January 25th 1579, marriage to Agnetam Mawtine at St. Mary's, Hanley Castle, Worcester, 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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