This is an English locational surname. It originates from one of the several villages called either Northwood or Norwood' in the counties of Middlesex, Surrey, and elsewhere. Both place names are derived from the Olde English pre 7th century elements 'nord' meaning North and 'wuda', a wood or forest. The surname was also applied to a person who resided to the north of a particular wood, as an example William and David Bynorthewode in the Devonshire rolls of 1330, lived north of woods now thought to be Northwood Farm, near Okehampton. Other early examples of the surname recording include Mauger de Northwode of Bedfordshire in the Hundred Rolls of that county in the year 1273, and Edmunde Northwoode of Buckingham, a student at Oxford University in 1592. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Painot de Norwude. which was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of Henry ll,known as "The Builder" 1154 - 1189. 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.