Recorded in several spellings including Southwold, Southwood, and Southernwood, this is an English locational surname. In the famous Domesday Book for the year 1086 there is a place called Sudwolda, which in later taxation and land rolls appears as Sothwode, and later still Southwolde, being the small fishing port and parish in the county of Norfolk which still exists. Another possibility is from the village of Southworth, near Warrington, in the county of Lancashire. It is uncertain when this village was first recorded, the earliest we have being in 1587, with that of one Thomas Southworth whose will was proved at Chester. This being the regional county town. Other examples of early recordings include Thomas Southwood of Norfolk in the tax rolls known as the 'Feet of Fines' for 1443, whilst Edmund Southworth of Yorkshire, was entered as a scholar at Oxford University in 1615. In the surviving registers of the city of London we have Richard Southernwood whose daughter Jane was christened at St Olaves church, Southwalk on February 21st 1647. Locational surnames were amongst the most popular types being either that of the lord of the manor, or more likely former inhabitants who moved, and when they settled were best identified by being called by the name of their original home. Writing and reading being restricted to scribes and clerics, - and local accents being very 'thick', often lead to the creation of 'sounds like' spellings, some far removed from the originals. The first known recording of this name in any spelling is that of Roger de Suthwode, of London, in the the year 1273, in the second year of the reign of King Edward 1st of England,1272 - 1307.
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