This interesting surname of Anglo-Saxon origin is a locational name from a place called Selwood in Somerset, deriving from the old English pre 7th Century "s(e)alh" meaning "willow" plus "wudu" "wood". During the Middle Ages when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek word further afield the custom developed that they would adopt the place-name as a means of identification. The surname dates back to the late 16th Century, (see below). Church records include Jone Selwood who married John Curtis on May 18th 1584 in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, Richard, son of William Selwood, who was christened on February 22nd 1607 at Congresbury, Somerset, and Grace Selwood who married Matthew Evered on February 3rd 1608 at Crewkerne, Somerset. A Coat of Arms which was granted to a Selwood family depicts a black imperial eagle standing on a billet, traverse the escutcheon, raguled and green trunked. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joannis Selwood who witness the christening of his daughter Margarita, which was dated 1580 - Wedmore, Somerset, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st - 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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