This interesting surname, with variant spelling Washborrow, is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The component elements of the name are the Anglo-Saxon "waesse" meaning swamp or stream and "beorgan" to shelter, an earthwork and refers to a fortified town; hence "fortified town by a stream". The surname was first recorded in the mid 17th Century (see below). On February 5th 1808, William, son of William and Amelia Wasbrough, was christened at St. George the Martyr, Southwark; Anne Wasbrough married James Goldie, on November 18th 1824, at St. Pancras old church, and Rice, son of William and Sarah Wasbrough was christened on June 10th 1835, at St. Leonards, Shoreditch. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Washbrough, witness at a christening, which was dated October 10th 1657, in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, "The Great Protector", 1649 - 1658. 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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