This interesting surname is derived from the Old Norse personal name "Thorgils", composed of the divine name "Thor", the name of the God of Thunder in Scandinavian mythology, and "gils", hostage, pledge. However, the inorganic initial "S" is not easily explained, it may be the result of the Old French influence. Pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and further early recordings include: Adam Thurgis in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire, and John Sturgys in the 1353 Feet of Fines of Cambridgeshire. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Sturgess, Sturdgess, Sturges, Sturgis and Turgoose. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of John Sturges and Mary Haddon on May 23rd 1568, at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, on November 14th 1569; the christening of John, son of Nicolas and Hannah Sturgess, on September 8th 1714, at St. Olave's, Southwark; and Ann Sturdgess christened at St Botolphs without Aldergate, London, on September 7th 1718. The family Coat of Arms is a black shield with six gold spearheads, the crest being a silver talbot sejant, collared blue. In heraldry, black denotes constancy; gold generosity; silver peace and sincerity; and blue loyalty and truth. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Turgis, which was dated 1210, in the "Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. 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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