This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical name for someone who lived in a row of cottages near a wood, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wudu", wood, and "raw", row, line, or a locational name from any of the various places named with the above elements. These places include Woodrow, a hamlet adjoining Melksham in Wiltshire, recorded as "La Woderowe" in the Close Rolls of that county, dated 1280; Woodrow in Worcestershire, appearing as "Wodrewe" in "Place Names of Worcestershire", dated 1505; and also Woodrow in Dorset and Buckinghamshire. Locational surnames were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere, and topographical surnames were developed from residence by particular natural and man-made features in the landscape. In 1296, one Juliana de Woderoue, and a Matilda Woderoue were noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, and on November 2nd 1579, the marriage of Grace Woodrow to John Froggpitt took place at Clayhanger, Devonshire. A notable namebearer was Henry Woodrow (1823 - 1876), M.A. of Rugby and Caius College, Cambridge, who became director of public instruction in Bengal (1876). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Woderowe, which was dated 1260, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire", 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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