This unusual and attractive surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Song Hurst in Ewhurst (Surrey), or from Songhurst Farm in Wisborough Green (Sussex). The component elements of the placename are believed to be either the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Sunna", bright, shining, or the Olde English "sang, song", the musical utterance of birds, with "hyrst", hillock, copse, wooded eminence. The latter element became "hurst" in Middle English, and appears variously as "herst, hirst" and "hurst" in placenames where it occurs. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and later as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. In the modern idiom the surname has four spelling variations: Songhurst, Songist, Songust and Songest. On July 8th 1555, Richard Songhurst, an infant, was christened in Ockley, Surrey, and on November 17th 1588, the marriage of Thomas Songhurst to Marye Bickner took place in Rudgwick, Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Sunghurst, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Surrey", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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