The surname, of Olde 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. Among the early recordings in Yorkshire is the christeneing of one Joseph Tongue, the infant son of Thomas Tongue, on July 15th 1661 at Skipton, and of John Tongue son of William Tongue on July 2nd 1672 at Burton Leonard. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wiluricus Tunge, which was dated 1188, in the "Abbey of Bury St. Edwards", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "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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