This is a surname which is recorded in different spellings in different English counties. For instance in Cumberland the spelling would seem to be as Rollinshaw, whilst in Lancashire and North Yorkshire it appears as Rallinshaw. It is clearly locational, and would seem to originate from some place spelt the same as the surname, or at least similar. If there is such a place we have not been able to identify it in any of the existing gazetters of the British Isles, nor indeed in any of the more ancient versions back to the 16th century. This suggests that the village was one of the estimated five thousand or more that have disappeared completely leaving behind as their public memory, the surname itself. In addition locational surnames such as this were usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people as easy identification, after they left their original homes and moved somewhere else. Spellling over the centuries being at best primitive, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings, sometimes far removed from the original. The make up of the surname would suggest a possible meaning of "Rolf's scaga" or Rolf's wood, whilst recordings include: Thomae Rallinshaw of Clapham, North Yorkshire, on September 29th 1722, and John Benson Rollinshaw, at Maryport, Cumberland, on June 18th 1851.
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