This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a topographical name for someone living on the banks of the river Tweed, which flows between north-east England and south-east Scotland, and bears a British name of uncertain meaning. British (as above) refers to the extinct Celtic language of the ancient Britons. It may be akin to the Welsh "twyad", hemming in (from "twy", check, bound), with reference to the deep and narrow valley at points along its course, or it may derive from a lost British word cognate with an Indo-European root meaning "to swell, be powerful". Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Twede, Tweede and Tweed. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas, son of Thome Twede, at Whitgift, Yorkshire, on January 11th 1590; the christening of Margret Tweed, on June 12th 1603, at Brompton by Northallerton, Yorkshire; and the marriage of Alicia Tweed and Richardus Spencer on May 29th 1625, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Twede, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1379 - 1399. 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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