The surname, of Old English origin, is found chiefly in Shropshire, Kent, Lancaster and the West Riding of Yorkshire and has four possible sources, the first being a locational name from places in the above mentioned counties, derived from 'tong' meaning 'situation by a fork in a road or river'. The second source is occupational for a maker or user of tongs from 'tonge', meaning 'tongue'. One Peter Tonge, a shoemaker, is recorded in 'The Wills of chester' in 1572. The third is topographical coming from 'tonge' 'someone living on a tongue of land'. Finally it may be a nickname for a chatterbox or a scold 'tunge' meaning 'tongue'. Variations of the spelling include Tonghe, Tunge, Tongs, Tongue. Christopher Tonge married Margaret Gilbert at St. George the Martyr, Canterbury, Kent on the 17th December 1598. Ann Tong married Price Williams at St. Giles, Cripplegate, London on July 30th 1645. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wiluricus Tunge, which was dated 1188, The Abbey of Bury St. Edwards, during the reign of King Henry II, 'The Builder of Churches', 1154 - 1189. 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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