Recorded as Salthouse, Sothouse, Sothouse, Southouse and possibly others, this is an English surname. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley writing in 1880 it is locational or occupational and originates from a place called Salthouse in Northumberland, a place where salt was collected. However recent research has thrown up other possibilities including the villages of Salthouse in Norfolk and Salthouse in Lancashire near Lytham St Annes. In addition there was once a village called South House in the county of Dorset, so this is a further alternative explanation. The derivation of Salt house is from the pre 7th century Old English word 'sealt', meaning salt, a precious commodity in Medieval times, and 'hus', a stone house. Early examples of the surname recording include John de Southouse of Norfolk in the tax registers known as the 'Feet of Fines' for the year 1345, Simon del Sothouse of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379, and John Saltos of Lancashire in the Hearth Tax register of 1525. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Salthus. This was dated 1274, in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England and knbown to history as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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