This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Selwood in Somerset, which appears as "Sealwyda" in 878 in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. The placename itself is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "salh, sealh", sallow and "widu, wudu", wood. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Early recordings of the surname found in the Church Registers of London and Somerset include: the marriage of Jone Selwood and John Curtis on May 18th 1584 at St. Dunstans, Stepney, London; the christening of Richard, son of William Selwood which took place on February 22nd 1607 at Congresbury in Somerset; and the marriage of William Silwood to Elizabeth Snow on January 26th 1720 at Taunton, Somerset. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is silver, an imperial eagle, black, standing on a billet, traverse the escutcheon, raguled and trunked green. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Sellwood, which was dated 8th November 1567, who was a christening witness, at Axminster, Devon, during the reign of QQueen Elizabeth 1st, known as "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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