Recorded in several spelling forms including Salesbury, Salisbury, Salsbury, Sarsbury and the dialectal Solesbury, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational and derives either from the city of Salisbury, in the county of Wiltshire, or from the village of Salesbury in the county of Lancashire. The place in Wiltshire is a very ancient settlement, the Roman name of which was "Sorviodunum", from an Ancient British (Celtic) name, of obscure etymology. In Anglo-Saxon times the second element, the Celtic "dun", fortress, was dropped, and the first element became "searo-" in Olde English. Owing to a folk etymological association with "searu", meaning armour; the Olde English "burg", meaning fortress, was then added as an explanatory term. The place is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Sarisberie", and by the 1206 Charter Rolls as "Salesbir", showing the change from "r" to "l" resulting from Norman pronunciation. Salesbury in Lancashire is recorded as "Salesbyry" in the 1246 Assize Rolls of the county, and is so called from the Olde English "salh", willow, with "burh", a fortress. William Salsbury was an early settler in the New World, recorded as living in the "Plantacion over against James Cittie" in Virginia in 1622. William Salisbury (1580 - 1659), raised a Welsh foot regiment for Charles 1st in 1644, and held Denbigh Castle through a long siege, surrendering finally in 1646. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Salesberie. This was dated 1115, in the "Winton Rolls, Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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