Found in the spellings of Shorto, Shortus, Shorthose, and Shorthouse, this extraordinary surname is both a metonymic and a 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 or an original Teddy Boy or Punk, dependant on your views of such things! He set a new fashion 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, and Martha Shorthouse of Suffolk in the Parliamentary Rolls of 1731. The coat of arms has the blazon of a black field charged with a chevron between three crescents in silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Shorthose, which was dated 1264, the Assize Court rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry V1, known as 'The last Lancastrian', 1422 - 1461. 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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