Recorded in various spellings which include: Sherwood, Sherewood, and Shirwood, this is an English medieval surname. It originates from a place called Sherwood, which is now a suburb of the ancient city of Nottingham, or from the forest of Sherwood, so famously, if sometimes not always entirely accurately, associated with the deeds of the famous outlaw Robin Hood. The place name derives from the pre 7th century Olde English words 'scir-wodu', which translate as 'the cultivated woodland', rather the opposite to the 'Hollywood' image of the forest of Sherwood, being something akin to a jungle! The surname being locational is a 'from' surname. That is to say that it was given to people after they left 'Sherwood' and moved elsewhere, as a form of identification. These early recordings include Margareta de Shyrwode in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, and interestingly the Sherwood's are still well recorded in the city of York in the 20th century. Other recordings from afar include William Sherwood who married Dionise Butler in London in1577 by civil licence, and in 1661, John Sherwood, who married Judith Cooke, at the church of St.Thomas, the Apostle, city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Scirwode. which was dated 1273, in the Pipe Rolls of Lincoln. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 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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