Recorded in many spelling forms including Thwaite, Thwaytes, Twaite, Twatt and Twaites, this is an English surname, but of pre 5th century Norse- Viking origins. It derives from the Old Norse word "thveit" through the later medieval "thwaite" and describes a low meadow or patch of pasture land. It was originally given either as a topographical name for someone who lived by such a meadow, or as a locational name to a person who hailed from any of the various places named with the above element. These include the villages of Thwaite in the adjoining counties of Norfolk and Suffolk. The surname was first recorded at the beginning of the 13th Century, and early examples of the recordings include: Ralph de Thweit, in the Curia Regis rolls of Norfolk, in 1221, Alan del Twayt of Yorkshire in 1301, and Robert del Twaytes, also of Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379. In 1448 Elizabeth Thwaites was recorded in Hardingham, Norfolk, whilst James Twaytes and Margarett Mits were married in Happisburgh on August 6th 1598. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph del Thweit, which was dated 1206, in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King John, 1199 - 1216. 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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