Recorded as Silverthorn and Silverthorne this is an English surname. It is locational from a now "lost" medieval village called Silverthorne, and believed to have been near the city of Bristol, in what is now the county of Avon. The surname could also be topographical, and denote residence at or by a white thorne (tree), although "Whitethorne" is also a surname in its own right. The derivation of the place name is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "seolfor" meaning white or silver, and "torn", a thorn bush or tree. The white thorn is particularly associated with the county of Somerset, where "Thorne" is a common placename, probably because of the association with the mystical thorne tree at Glastonbury which flowers at Christmas time. Most early recordings of the surname are from Somerset, and found in the surviving church registers of that region. The first known recording of the family name is believed to be that of Roger Selverthorn. This was dated 1327, in the Pipe Rolls of Somerset during the reign of King Edward IIIrd of England and known as "The Father of the English Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the origin/al spelling.
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