This name, with variant spellings Whithurst, Whiteherst etc., is of English topographical origin from residence by a wood with white barked trees. The component elements of the name are the Old English pre 7th Century "hwit", (Medieval English "whit"), meaning "white", plus, "hyrst", a wood or wooded hill. Several English placenames contain "whit" as a first element including Whitehill in Durham and Whitefield, (Lancashire). The predominance of surname recordings in Church Registers of Newport and Shropshire, from the late 16th Century suggest that there may have been a place in Shropshire called Whit(e)hurst. On April 29th 1598, John Whitehurst, an infant was christened in Newport. Other families belonged to Shrewsbury and Church Stretton. A Coat of Arms held by one branch of the family has a silver and red shield divided per chevron with two sheaves of corn in chief and a horse in base. The motto is "Je Crains Dieu". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Whithurst, (marriage to Joyce Smart), which was dated November 25th 1594, Newport, Shropshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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