This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from either of the places called Holdsworth and Holdworth in West Yorkshire. The places are recorded respectively as "Haldewrth" in 1276, and as "Haldewrde" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Both share the same meaning and derivation, which is "Halda's settlement", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Halda", from "h(e)ald", bent (in the sense of a crooked back, for instance), with "worth", a settlement or enclosure. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The early recordings of the surname reflect those of the placename, as Haldeworth, with a later intrusive "s". The surname was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: John de Halworth (1379, Yorkshire); Joshua Houldsworth (1593, ibid.); and Robart Holdworth, who was recorded as a student at the University of Oxford in 1595. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Haldeworth, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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