Recorded in a number of spellings including New and Newe, (English), Neu, Ney, Neye, Nige, (German), Neu (Jewish), and Nyhlen (Swedish), with patronymics Newson and Newing (English), this surname has at least two possible origins. The first is locational from residence by a prominent yew tree. These trees in ancient times were considered to have special powers, which is why they are often found in churchyards, and not the least because they provided the wood for the English Long Bow, the most destructive weapon of the Middle Ages. The derivation of the name is from the pre 7th century Olde English and Germanic word "neowe" and the later Middle English "ew" both meaning yew. Amongst the many early recordings is that of John atte Newe recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327. His name results from a fusing of the medieval phrase "atten ew". A second possible origin is as a nickname surname for a stranger, a newcomer into an area. Here the derivation is from the Medieval English word "newe". Walter le New is recorded in the Fines Tax rolls of Cambridgeshire in the year 1234. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William le Neuwe. This was dated 1221 in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Warwickshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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