This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Towersey in Buckinghamshire. The placename was recorded as "Eie" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Turrisey" in the 1237 - 1240 Book of Fees, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "(i)eg", an island, also used of a piece of firm land in a fen, and of land situated on a stream or between streams; hence, "the island". The manor was held by Richard de Turs in 1252 (Turs, from Tours in France), and was then called "Turs island". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Towsey, Towsie, Tousey, Touzey and Tousy. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Elizabeth Towsey and Georg Hollis on April 27th 1566, at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London; the marriage of Alice Thowssey and Henry Everseley on November 24th 1577, at Great Hamden, Buckinghamshire; and the marriage of William Towsey and Jane Baysley at All Saints, Wandsworth, London, on December 5th 1616. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a gold shield with three green pales, and on a silver chief, four black estoiles. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roland Towsie, which was dated June 30th 1560, witness at his daughter's christening, in Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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