Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this is an English surname but one of pre 7th century Norse-Viking origins. It may be either topographical or locational, and is derived from the word "thveit", meaning a clearing or farm. As a topographical surname, Thwaite(s) denotes residence in or by such a place whilst as a locational surname it originates from any one of the various places called "Thwaite", found in several parts of Northern England and East Anglia to the south. The surname development from ancient times includes examples such as Alan del Twayt of Yorkshire in 1301, Robert del Twaytes of the same county in 1379, William Twaytes of Suffolk in 1492, and Matthew Thwayts of Oxfordshire in 1618.The various 'modern' spelling forms include Thwaite, Thwaites, Thwaytes, Thoytes, Twaite, Twatt, Twaites, Tweats and Twite. The plural forms denote "of Thwaite" and are similar to the French 'de'. An example of a recordings taken from surviving church registers is that of the christening of Thomas Thwaite, the son of John Thwaite, on January 22nd 1461, at Lofthouse with Carlton, in Yorkshire. An early coat of arms granted to the Thwaites family of Marston in Yorkshire, depicts a gold fess between three gold estoiles on an blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph del Thweit. This was dated 1206, in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King John of England, 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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