This name is of English locational origin from a place thus called near Staveley in Derbyshire or from Woodthorpe in Lincolnshire. The former was first recorded as Wodesthorp in the 1265 Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire, and the latter as Widetorp in the 1202 'Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire'. Both places derived their first elements from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'wuda', a wood or forest, plus 'thorp', an outlying farm belonging to a village or manor; hence, 'thorp in a wood'. The surname is particularly well recorded in Lincolnshire church registers from the mid 16th Century, (see below). On October 2nd 1575 Issabell Woodthorpe, an infant, was christened in Snelland, Lincolnshire. One of the erliest recordings of the name in London was the marriage of Jane Woodthorpe and John Ansell on October 21st 1693. On February 28th 1847 William Woodthorpe and Sarah Rimer were married in Hathersage, Derbyshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jhoan Wodthorp, son of William Wodthorp, which was dated October 5th 1565, christened in Fulletby, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, 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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