This long-establishes surname is of early medieval Cornish origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Cornish "trev, tre", cognate with the Welsh "tref, tre", homestead, and "newydh, noweth", new; hence, "new homestead". These places include: Trenouth in St. Ervan and Tintagel; and Trenowth near Truro, the latter place being recorded as "Trefneweth" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 969. The first element "tre(f)", widely found in placenames of Wales and Cornwall, and to a lesser extent in Herefordshire and Lancashire, may be variously interpreted as "homestead, hamlet, village". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. The majority of Cornish surnames are locational, and an old rhyme runs, "By Tre- (homestead), Pol- (pool) and Pen- (summit, promontory), Ye may know most Cornish men". One Ranulf de Trenewyth was noted in the Book of Fees for Cornwall, dated circa 1210, and on February 13th 1600, John, son of Humphrey Trenouth, was christened at Saint Columb Major, Cornwall. An early Coat of Arms granted to the family is described thus: "Argent, on a fess sable three chevronels palewise, points to the dexter argent". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Trenowith, which was dated circa 1170, in "Early Medieval Records of Cornwall", 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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