This unusual name is of Old Norse origin and is either a locational or a topographical surname. If the former, it derives from the place called "Thackray" in the Parish of Great Timble, in West Yorkshire which has now been submerged in the Fewston reservoir. The placename's meaning and derivation are from the Olde Norse elements "thak", meaning thatching, reeds and "(v)ra", meaning a nook or corner. The topographical surname denotes one who lived at such a "nook or corner" - "where reeds for thatching grew". The name development has included John Thackerowe (1548, Yorkshire), James Thackerey (1602, ibid.) and Thomas Thackwray (1613, ibid.). Alice Thackwray was christened on the 1st May 1693 at St. Dunstans, Stepney in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Tha Kwra, which was dated 1379, The Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns, during the reign of King Richard II, Richard of Bordeaux, 1377 - 1399. 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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