This unusual and interesting name, recorded in English Church Registers from the early 17th Century, is of locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages or hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures in the 14th Century, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348. The original place is believed to have been in the Leicestershire-Warwickshire area of England, and the component elements are the Old English pre 7th Century "thorn", a thorn-bush, or "thorniht", "thorny", plus "worth", an enclosure (round a homestead). On December 20th 1671, Charles Thorneworke, and Mary Cooke were married in Chilcote, Leicestershire, and on May 20th 1674, Hannah, daughter of Charles Thorneworck, was christened in Clifton Campville, Staffordshire. Thomas Thorneywork and Mary Pratt were married in St. Martin's, Birmingham, Warwickshire, on November 19th 1792. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Janne Thorniworke, (christening), which was dated July 2nd 1611, St. Andrew's, Holborn, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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