This interesting surname with variant spellings Tollhurst and Tolhearst, is probably of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have been lost in 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 at the height of the 14th Century Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, also contributed to this phenomenon. The original place believed to have been situated in Kent was composed of the elements "Tol", which may be a derivative of the Norse "Porleifr", clump of trees, or may come from "Toli", an Old Swedish and Danish personal name, plus the second element "-hurst", the Anglo-Saxon word for a thick wood, or "hyrst", the Anglo-Saxon word for a thick wood, or "hyrst", a wooded hill. John Tolhurst was christened at Cranbrook, Kent, on December 24th 1565, while Richard Tollhurst married Margaret Tisshurst at Dellington, Sussex on January 9th 1608. Margaret Tolherst married Edward Warbrace at Cranbrook, on September 8th 1611. One Ann Tolitehurst married Thomas Bishop at St. Olave, Jewry St., London on November 23rd 1746. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Tolhurst, which was dated May 8th 1552, who was married at Staplehurst, Kent, during the reign of King Edward V1, "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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