This famous and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either the city of Salisbury, in Wiltshire, or from Salesbury in Lancashire. The place in Wiltshire is a very ancient settlement, the Roman name of which was "Sorviodunum", from the 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", armour; the Olde English "burg, burh", fortress, manor, town, 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", fortress, manor. One 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), the royalist, raised a Welsh foot regiment for Charles 1, 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, which was dated 1115, in the "Winton Rolls, Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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