Recorded in several spelling forms including: Thew, Thow, Thewes, Thowes, and Thews, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins. The first of these is Norse Viking pre 7th century, and an ancient status name. The derivation is from the word "thewar", in Old English "theow", and meaning a thrall. This was a person who held lands on "bond", and retained pssoession whilst ever these bonds were carried out. The second possible origin is from a short form of the given name "Matthew", meaning "Gift of God", This was one of the most popular names 'brought' from the Holy Land by returning Crusaders of the 12th century. It generated a great many variant diminutive and patronymic forms in the Middle Ages of which "Thew" was one of them. Early examples of the surname recording include William Thewe of Nottingham in 1199, and Johanna Thow of Derbyshire in 1348. Later examples taken from the surviving church recordings of the early city of London include: Elizabeth Thow, who marrried William Bookhall at the church of St Gregory's by St Pauls, on November 1st 1578, and Edward Thew who married Mary Carnon on July 25th 1639, at St. Giles Cripplegate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Thewe. This was dated 1190, in Pipe Rolls of the county of Yorkshire, and during the reign of King Richard Ist, 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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