This very unusual surname is of medieval English origin, and has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may be an occupational name for a bow-stringer or maker of bow-strings, derived from the Middle English "string", string, with "felaw", fellow, the latter element deriving ultimately from the Olde English pre 7th Century "feolaga", partner, shareholder. In Middle English the term was used in the general sense of companion or comrade, and the surname thus probably denoted a (fellow) member of a trade guild, in this case, bow-stringers. Stringfellow may also belong to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Middle English "strong", mighty, strong, originally denoting a powerfully built man who possessed great physical strength. The suffix "fellow" is particularly widespread in the north of England, especially in Yorkshire and Lancashire. On September 9th 1539, Raphe Stringfelowe, an infant, was christened in Farnworth near Prescot, and on September 22nd 1599 Elizabeth Stringfellow and Roger Atherton were married in Farnsworth Chapel, Prescot, Lancashire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Stringfellow family of Yorkshire is a black shield with a griffin passant between three gold mullets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Strengfellow, which was dated 1286, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known 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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