This unusual and intriguing name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of surnames. These were given in the first instances with reference to a variety of personal qualities, including physical attributes and peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. This surname derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "toh", in Middle English "togh, tow(e)", meaning "vigorous, steadfast, stubborn", used as a nickname for someone considered to be particularly valiant or stubborn. The modern surname forms are Tough, Tow and Towe, and the patronymics Tow(e)s, Toes, To(o)se and To(o)ze, where the "s" is a reduced form of "son of". Early examples of the name include: Gilbert Towe (1275, Hampshire); Alicia la Towe (1275, Worcestershire); Nicholas le Toghe (1275, Kent); and the following from London Church Registers: Margret Towse (1564); William Toes (1580); Thomas Towes (1583); and Mary Tose (1614). The patronymic surname is particularly well recorded in Devonshire: the marriage of Joann Tooze and Richerde Balle took place at St. Martin's, Exeter, on October 16th 1621, and John, son of Michael Tooze, was christened in Whimple, on May 2nd 1665. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Toose, which was dated October 13th 1550, christened at Clyst Hydon, Devonshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "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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