This interesting and distinguished surname is of Dutch, Flemish and Frisian origin, and derives from "Th(ew)ys", or "Thees", pet forms of the male given name Mathiess, ultimately from the Hebrew "Matityahu", "Gift of God". Recorded in the Greek New Testament in the form "Matth(a)ias", this was taken into Latin as both "Matthias" and "Matthaeus", the former being used for the apostle, and the latter for the evangelist. The subsequent popularity of the name gave rise to a variety of diminutive and pet forms including: Thies(e), Dies(s), Theuss, Deuss, Tewes and Th(ew)ys. This surname was initially introduced into England by Flemish weavers, brought over by Edward 111 (1327 - 1377), to aid in the development of the British textile industry. Many of these weavers settled in the Cotswolds, and their colony was greatly strengthened by Huguenot Protestant refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Notable bearers of the name include: Geerardt Dewes (deceased 1591), a painter, descended from the ancient lords of Kessel in Guelderland (East Netherlands); and Sir Simonds D'Ewes (1602 - 1650), barrister of the Middle Temple, 1623, and high Sheriff for Suffolk, 1639. A Coat of Arms granted to the Dewes family of Stow Hall, Suffolk, is a gold shield, with a fesse vair between three red quatrefoils. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Giles Dewes, librarian to Henry V11, which was dated 1509, in the "Dictionary of National Biography", during the reign of King Henry V1, known as "The Last Welsh King", 1509 - 1547. 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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