This is an English locational surname. It derives from the village of Winsbury in Staffordshire, and is recorded in the spellings of Winsberrie, Winsburye, Winsbury and Wansbury. The meaning is the 'the hill (burgh) covered by wyn grass' although there is also a second theory that 'Win' is a personal name. The village is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, but the surname is much later, and rarely if ever recorded in Staffordshire except under the spellings of Winsborrow and possibly Winsby. Like most locational surnames it was given to the original nameholders when they moved to other areas. This could be the next village, but usually in the context of the 16th or 17th century, villages were often completely 'cleared' and the inhabitants driven off to seek what future they could find. London being the 'mecca', and possibly the only place even known to the villagers, they would make the most vigourous efforts to find their way there. Spelling being at best rudimentary and local dialects extremely 'thick' resulted in 'sounds like' spellings. In this case early examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving church registers include Anne Winsburye, christened at St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London, on July 14th 1543, Teresa Winsbury, who married James Boyle at St Martins in the Field, on May 27th 1787, and John Wansbury, who may have been the first in that spelling, a witness at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, London, on October 27th 1811. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Winsberrie, which was dated June 13th 1540, a witness at St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as 'Bluff King Hal', 1510 - 1547. 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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