This very unusual surname is of Old Cornish origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any of the various minor places in Cornwall named with the Cornish term "skaw", elder bush, with the locational suffix "-es". Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. In some cases the surname may be topographical in origin, denoting residence "at or by the elder bush". The development of the name includes: Elizabeth Skuse (1578, Somerset), Lawrence Scose (1580, ibid.), Johas Scouse (1593, Cornwall), and Mary Skosse (1634, Devonshire). The modern surname has a variety of forms, ranging from Skuce, Scuse, Skuse, and Scouse to Skew(e)s and Skewis. One Philip Scouse was christened in Wendron, Cornwall, on January 30th 1698. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Skewes (christening), which was dated June 13th 1567, in the Ludgvan, Cornwall, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 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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