This unusual name is locational, from a place called Nettleshope, now "lost", but thought to have been situated somewhere in the neighbourhood of Tickhell in Yorkshire on the borders of Nottinghamshire. It was not uncommon for whole villages to "disappear" in medieval England. They were "cleared" for sheep pastures and the populations dispersed, as well as being depopulated by natural disasters such as the Black Death of 1348, or accidents of war. In these cases, only the surname is left to record, the existence of the village. The change of ending from "shope" to "ship" is a comon dialectual one in Northern England. The meaning of the placename is "the small enclosed valley of nettles", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "netele", nettles and "hop", valley, enclosure. One Marcus Nettleship was christened in Rothwell, Yorks in 1590. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Netelshippe. which was dated 1583, Register of the University of Oxford, Nottinghamshire. 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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