This picturesque name is of Medieval English origin and is locational from a so called 'lost' village, likely to have once been situated in Lancashire, suggested by the fact that recordings are numerous in that County. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'ruh', rought, and 'secg', sedge, thus 'rough ground where sedge grew in abundance'. The phenomenon of the lost village was generally a result of enforced land clearance in the height of the wool industry (12th and 13th Centuries) to make way for sheep pasture, as well as the more natural causes, such as the plague of 1348 and war, etc. Amongst the sample recordings of namebearers in Lancashire are the christenings of William Roughsedge in August 1732 at St. Nicholas, Liverpool, and Mary Roughsedge on July 20th 1739 at Farnworth, near Prescott, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Eline Roughsich marriage to John Barnes, which was dated May 24th 1567, Farnworth, near Prescott, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558-1603. 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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