This is an English locational name from a place thus called in the parish of Ormskirk in Lancashire. The name derives from the Medieval English 'west' meaning 'west' and 'heved' - a headland, and was originally given to one residing near the west headland. The surname is first recorded in the early 14th century. The spelling Westhead appears in the fifteen hundreds: Gilbert Westhead of Ormskirk 1590 - Wills Records at Chester (1545-1620). In 1658 the spelling, Westead appeared - William Clayton married an Eliza Westead in St. James Church, Clerkenwell, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Westheved which was dated 1313 - The Fine Court Rolls of Lancashire during the reign of King Edward 11 Edward of Caernafon 1307-1327 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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