Recorded in several spelling forms including Sleightholm, Sleightholme, and Sleighthom, this is a rare northern English surname. It is locational from the two small hamlets called Sleightholme in North Yorkshire near Bowes, or perhaps Wigton in Cumbria. The derivation is from the Olde Norse words "sletta" meaning a level field, and "holmr", an island. In fact depending on the particular geographical circumstances, both words could mean the same thing, as a "holmr" could also describe a level field in a bog or swamp. If so this name may be an example of fusion, where an original meaning has been lost, and a secondary word added at a later date. Slethholm in Yorkshire (as spelt) is first recorded in the tax register known as the "Feet of Fines" in the year 1234. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers include such examples as Alexander Sleightholm, who married Dorothy Skowthrop at Oswoldkirk, North Yorkshire, on May 16th 1586, and Anna Sleightholme, the daughter of Bartholomew Sleightholme, who was christened at Great Edstone, Yorkshire, on November 25th 1636. Locational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads and moved elsewhere. It was then and it often remains so today, that one of the easiest ways to identify a stranger was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came.
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