Recorded in several spellings including Ostrich, Ostridge, and the aphetic Gostridge, this is an English surname. It is occupational and originates from the pre 9th century Old French word "ostrice or hostrige" meaning a hawk. It was originally given as a metonymic to a hawker or falconer, one who trained birds of prey for hunting. Hawking was a major sport throughout Medieval Europe, and the provision and training of hawks for a feudal lord was frequently accepted in lieu of rent. The right of any free man to keep these birds for his own use was also noted in Magna Carta during the reign of King John, 1199 -1216. Early recordings of the surname include: William le Ostricer in documents relating to the Danelaw for the city of London, in 1160, and John Gossreche in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of the county of Suffolk in 1327. Examples taken from surviving church registers in the city of London include Rebeka Ostrich, who was christened at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on January 14th 1677, and Sarah Ostridge, who was christened at the same church on June 14th 1694. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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