Recorded in many forms including Shorto, Shortus, Shorthose, Shorthouse, and apparently the London variant of Shortman, this extraordinary English surname was originally a medieval nickname. It would seem to have derived from Sir Thomas Woodcock, Lord Mayor of London in 1405, who was it seems a leader of fashion who set a new style by wearing a 'short jacket', which did not cover his nether regions!. This is commemorated in a poem 'His jacet, Tom Shorthose, sine tomb, sine sheet, sine riches'. Whether all the present nameholders descend from Thomas 'Shorthose' Woodcock is open to argument. What seems more likely is that makers of these garments were themselves given the nickname, which then became hereditary. The famous Victorian etymologist, Canon Charles Bardsley considered that the name was also found as 'Curthose or Curthoys', but this seems unlikely, these spellings being almost certainly forms of 'Curtis'. Early examples of the name recording include Robert Shortus in Lincolnshire in 1587, John Shorthose, rector of Edlington, Yorkshire, in 1665, Edward Shorto in the register of St Martins in the Field, Westminster, for July 15th 1716, Martha Shorthouse of Suffolk in the Parliamentary Rolls of 1731, and William Shortman, who married Hannah Deane at St Michaels, Cornhill, in the city of London, on February 6th 1791. The first recorded spelling of the family name is possibly that of William Shorthose. This was dated 1264, in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry V1, 1422 - 1461. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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