This ancient Scottish surname is locational in origin, from the place called 'Roxburgh' near Kelso in what is now the 'Borders' county of Scotland, formerly Roxburghshire. The placename is composed of Northern Old English (pre 7th Century) elements, due to its proximity to the English county of Northumberland, and means 'Hroc's fort', or 'manor', derived from the Old English byname or nickname 'Hroc', from 'hroc', rook, given to a person with very dark hair, with 'burh, burg', fort, manor. The surname is recorded early on in Scotland; one Walter of Rokeburg witnessed charters by Richard, bishop of St. Andrew's, between 1163-1185, and Hugh de Roxburgh was Chancellor of the Kingdom and bishop elect of Glasgow; he died in 1199. The modern surname can be found as Roxburgh, Roxbrough, Roxburch and particularly in Northumberland, Rosborough, and Rosbr(o)ugh. The marriage of Jean Roxbrough and John Johnston was recorded in Edinburgh in 1775. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Rogesburg (charter witness), which was dated circa 1150, Records of the Monastery of Cambuskenneth, during the reign of King David 1 of Scotland, 1124-1153. 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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