This unusual and interesting surname, with the spellings Artis, Artiss, Artist, Artois and Artus, is of French origin, and is the Anglicization of a locational name Artois, from a region in northern France so called. It is likely that this name was introduced into Britain after the Norman Conquest of 1066, Artois being the centre of Tapestry manufacturing for the whole of Europe. The following examples illustrate the name development since 1327 (see below): John Artes (1524, in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk); Thomas Arteis (1568, in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk); Robert Artis (1674, in the Hearth Tax Returns of Suffolk); and Abraham Artus (1724, in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Samuel Artis and Rebecca Chamberlain on May 15th 1705, at St. Ann and St. Agnes, Aldersgate, and the marriage of John Artis and Mary Collingwood on June 27th 1721, at St. Antholin, Budge Row. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Artoys, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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