This most interesting and curious surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some lost, minor or unrecorded place, now believed to have been situated in the Cambridgeshire region, because of the early recordings of the name found in that county. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared from maps since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. The placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century element "sand", sand (as in Sambrook), and the Olde English "worth", enclosure, village, settlement, hence "the sandy settlement". Recordings of the surname include the marriage of Edmond Samworth and Elizabeth Bowd at Barrington, Cambridgeshire in 1591; the christening of John, son of Richard Samworth, on January 16th 1625, at Yelden in nearby Bedfordshire; and the christening of Elizabeth, daughter of John and Rose Samworth, on March 16th 1683, at Haston in Cambridgeshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edmunde Samworth, which was dated April 11th 1563, a christening witness at Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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