Recorded in many forms including Wort, Wortt, Worts, and Wortman (English), and Wortz, Wurz, Wurtz, Wurzer, Wurzman (German), this intriguing surname is occupational. It describes a grower or seller of vegetables or medicinal herbs and spices. The derivation is either from the Old English pre 7th century word 'wyrt', or the similar Old High German 'wurz', both meaning a plant. The plural forms are patronymic denoting the son of Wort(man). The occupation was highly respected in the Middle Ages, and it is perhaps not surprising that this is one of the earliest recorded surnames.As examples the Tax Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk records one Henry Wortes in 1334, whilst other surviving examples from the early surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Richard Worts who married Joane Smith at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, on 24th August 1635, and William Wort and Cornelia Cornelius who were married at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, on June 24th 1641. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aeluuric Uuort. This was dated 1095 a.d., in the rolls of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmonds, Suffolk, during the reign of King William II of England, 1087 - 1100. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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