This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname from any one of the various places called "Northey", which are composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century word "north", north and varied suffixes. The places in Essex, Devonshire and Hertfordshire are named with "north" and "(ge)haeg", meaning enclosure, those in Sussex and Hampshire with "north and "eg", meaning "island", Northey in Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire is "north river" from "north" and "ea", and Northey Wood in Cambridgeshire and Northey in Turvey, Bedfordshire are "the north ridge", from "north" and "hoh", ridge, escarpment. In some cases "Northey" may be a topographical name, denoting residence by or at the north ridge or enclosure of a place, as in Roger de la Northawe de Ledes (1439, Yorkshire). William Northey and Johanna South were married in London in 1529. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Northie, which was dated 1200, The Pipe Rolls of Kent, during the reign of King John "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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