This name is of English topographic origin for one dwelling on or by a patch of rough uncultivated ground. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ruh" meaning "rough". The surname from this source is first recorded in 1332, John ate Roug, in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Prior to this however, "Rough" was given as a nickname to one who behaved in this manner, (see below). In 1296 Geoffrey Rugh appears in the "Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire". The spelling "Rough" is well recorded in Scotland from the late 16th Century. We are told that John Rough a Dominican of the monastery of Stirling was the first man from whom John Knox the Scottish reformer, (1505 - 1572) received any taste of the truth. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Ruff, Rough and Roug. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Rug(h), which was dated 1279, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. during the reign of King Edward l, 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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