The village of Strangeways in Lancashire is the place of origin of this unusual surname. The origin is Olde English pre 10th Century, the elements of the word being from "Strang" which probably means "Strong" and "Gewaesc" - an overflow of water, so a fast-flowing Waterfall is the likely explanation. The village name is first recorded in the 1322, Land Commission as "Strangwas" and in 1326 as "Strangways". The surname development includes these examples; James Strangewesh (Yorkshire, 1489), John Strangwayes who married Gertrude Cutson in London by Civil Licence in 1546 and Giles Strangwaies of Dorset, recorded in the Oxford University Register for 1589. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James Strangwishe, which was dated 1450, in the Guild Register of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V1, known as "The Founder of Eton College", 1422 - 1461. 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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