Recorded as Newhouse, Newhus, Newus, Newis and Newiss, this is an English and sometimes Scottish, surname. It is either locational from any of the four places called "Newhouse" in the counties of Devonshire, Herefordshire, Kent, or possibly Lanarkshire in Scotland, or from one of the many places called New House in Cumbria, Durham, Dorset, Wiltshire, and Yorkshire, as well as the two villages called Newhouses in Yorkshire and Durham. Whilst the literal meaning is the New House, the reference may well originally have been either to a house which had replaced a former dwelling, or it may not literally have meant a house, but a settlement. Another suggestion is that it referred to a substantial building, one made of stone, rather than the wattle and lathe which sufficed for most "houses". Locational names of this type were often "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification after the left their original homes and moved elsewhere. Local accents being very thick, and spelling at best erratic, lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings such as Newis and Newiss. Early examples of the surname recordings include Ralph de Niwehus in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1176, William atte Newhous in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridge in 1327, and John Newiss, in the Friary Rolls of Yorkshire in 1672.
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