This picturesque surname is of Scottish origin, and is a locational name from a place so called in the parish of Gordon, Berwickshire, which was first recorded in 1249 as "Spottiswode". The derivation is from a personal name, perhaps Spotts or Spottis, of unknown etymology, and the Middle English "wode", a wood. It is thought that all the namebearers descend from Robert de Spotteswode (see below) whose seal bears a wild boar passant and is inscribed "S' Rob' de Spottiswod". William de Spottiswod, verified the proceedings on December 15th 1309, which were adopted in Scotland against the Knights Templars, and Alexander Spotswood, was governor of Virginia in 1710 and the principal encourager of the growth of tobacco, which laid the foundation of Virginia's wealth and that of Glasgow's "Tobacco Lords". One John Spottiswoode married Margaret Penelope Straham on July 10th 1779 at St. Bride's, Fleet Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Spotteswode, which was dated 1296, in Berewyk, Scotland, during the reign of King John Balliol, King of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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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