Recorded in the spellings of Northway and Norwar, this is an English surname of great antiquity. It nothing directly to do with Norsemen or Vikings, or indeed the modern inhabitants of the country Norway. The name is of Olde English pre 7th century, it is of residential origins and in most cases describes a person who lived "north of the road". The late Professor Reaney is recorded as giving two illustrations of the name from the 14th century. These being Ralph Bysouthweye, and his neighbour Roger Bynorthewye, both at the village of Whitestone, Devon, in the year 1344.Their farms were apparently later known as Norway and Southway. There were in medieval times several villages called Northway or Norway, but the only one still surving seems to be Northway, near Tewkesbury, in Gloucestershire. It is said though that areas called Northway still exist in both Somerset and Glamorgan, whilst Northey Wood in Essex and Northay in Kent, may have the same origins. Early examples of the surname recording include Geoffrey Bynorthwey, in Somerset in 1280, and Ricardus de Norway of York, in the Poll Tax rolls for the year 1379. The first known recording of the name in any spelling is believed to be that of Richard de Northweye, in the 1275 Subsidy Rolls of the county of Worcester. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307.
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