Recorded apparently as Withinshaw and very rarely as Withenshaw, this is an English locational surname. It originates from an apparently now "lost" medieval village believed to have been called Wilingshaw in the county of Lancashire, although this is not proven. The place name would seem to derive from the pre 7th century Olde English "wilig" meaning willow, and "scaga", a copse or wood, to give the Willow Wood . Locational surnames were usually names given to people who were either the local lords of the manor, or more usually because they had left their original homestead to move somewhere else. The easiest form of identification of strangers being to call them by the name of the place from whence they came, but with spelling being at best erratic, this often lead to the development of "sounds like" forms. In this case an early recording is that of Thomas Withinshaw in the registers of St Mary's Lewisham, in the city of London, on April 12th 1716, whilst Mary Withinshaw married John Ruffells at St Nicholas church, Liverpool, Lancashire, on December 10th 1781.
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