This most interesting and unusual surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and derives from a widespread Anglo-Scandinavian personal name "Waeltheof", from the Old Norse "Valthiofr", which is composed of the elements "val", battle, and "-thiofr", thief; the name can be taken to imply snatching victory out of battle. Other surnames from this source include Walthew, Waldy, Waldo, Waldie, Watthews, Watthey, Wadie, Wilthew and Wealthy. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. The original surname first appears in records in the mid 12th Century (see below), while Adam Walthef is mentioned in 1219 in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire; Hugo Waldef is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1275; and Alexander Walthew appears in 1297, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire. Thomas Waltho appears in Kelso Records (Scotland) in 1539. Mary, daughter of Francis Waltho, an early settler in the Barbadoes, was baptised in the parish of St. James, on August 17th 1678. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Wlthef, which was dated circa 1154, in "Records of Lincolnshire", 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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