This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Southworth (with Croft), a parish north east of Warrington in Lancashire. Recorded as "Suthewrthe" in the Book of Fees for Lancashire, dated 1212, the component elements of the name are the Olde English pre 7th Century "suth, sud", south, with "worth", enclosure, homestead, village. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The surname, with variant spellings Sothworth, Sotworth, Sut(h)worth, Sedworth and Sidworth, is well recorded in English Church Registers from the mid 16th Century. On November 10th 1554, Elizabeth Sudworth, an infant, was christened at St. Antholin's, Budge Row, London, and on August 7th 1599, George, son of Francis Sudworth, was christened at St. Mary's, Lancaster, Lancashire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Southworth family of Lancashire, descended from Sir Gilbert Southworth, in the reign of Edward 111 (1327 - 1377), is a silver shield with a chevron between three black crosses crosslet, the Crest being a black bull's head erased, horned gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Southworthe, which was dated 1281, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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