This interesting surname, found chiefly in the county of Lancashire, is ostensibly a topographical name deriving its name from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "waeter", water, and "woreth", enclosure, but the more likely origin of the name is that it derives from "waterward", an occupational name for a water bailiff from the Olde English "waeter", and "weard", a guard or watchman. All the early examples occur on the banks of Martin Mere, a large freshwater lake (now drained) in West Lancashire. On October 2nd 1566, Henry Bikerstaffe married Margery Waterworth at Aughton by Ormskirk, Lancashire, while at Croston, Lancashire, Margaret Waterworth married Lawrence Harrison on October 8th 1586. On May 6th 1587, the christening of Robert Waterworth took place at Leigh, in Lancashire. William Waterworth (1811 - 1882), a notable namebearer, was a Jesuit, educated at Stonyhurst, joined the Jesuits in 1829, and published polemical tractates. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alis Waterworth, which was dated May 18th 1561, marriage to Richard Lithom at Ormskirk, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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