This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in the West Country, because of the high incidence of early surname recordings from that area. The component elements of the placename are believed to be the Olde English pre 7th Century "nos", literally meaning "nose", but used here in the transferred topographical sense of "projecting ridge" or "nose-like bend", with the Olde English "worth, worthig", enclosure, homestead; hence, "homestead on a ridge". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. As a second element of placenames "worthy" is especially widespread in the South West, and in the modern idiom the surname is spelt Nos(e)worthy, Nossworthy and Nosworth. Recordings from Devonshire Church Registers include the christening of Gregorye Nosworthie, an infant, on March 13th 1538, at Stoke in Teignhead, and the marriage of Robert Nosworthy and Dunes Gotham on April 20th 1573, in Wolborough and Newton Abbot. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided per pale red and gold, with a chevron and a pile conjoined in point at the top of the chevron all counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Noswuth, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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