This most interesting surname has two distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may be of early medieval English origin, from the Middle English "toward", docile; hence the name was a nickname for a compliant, obedient person. Secondly, the name may be of Old Scottish origin, as a locational name from the lands of Toward in the parish of Dunoon, in Argyllshire, Scotland. In Scotland, legend states that during the reign of Robert 111 (1390 - 1406), two sons of the chief of the Lamonts changed their name to Toward, and another authority has it that people of this name are considered a sept of Clan Lamond. The surname is first recorded from the former source mentioned above, in the late 13th Century (see below), while recordings in Scotland include: Patrick Towart, burgess freeman of Glasgow in 1600; one Malcolm Toward, a reader in Logie, was "deposed in 1600 for consulting the Egyptians"; and Walter Towar was bedell (an officer of the court) of Logie in 1690. The surname is chiefly found in the North of England, especially Northumberland and Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margery Toward, which was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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