This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Walshaw near Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. The placename means "the copse of the foreigner or Briton", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "walh, wealh", foreigner, and "sceaga", copse, thicket. The term "w(e)alh" was used variously in different parts of Britain to denote Scotsmen, Welshmen and Bretons. Most English placenames which contain the element "wealh" are thought to refer to enclaves of originally Welsh-speaking people. Locational surnames were most often acquired by those former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The marriage of William Walshaw and Mary Hunkins was recorded at St. Katherine-by-the-Tower, London, on January 28th 1718. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Walschawe, which was dated April 22nd 1551, christened at Halifax, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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