This uncommon name is of early medieval English origin, and represents a colloquial pronunciation of the more familiar surname Tomlinson; it is also found as Townson, Tolson, Tou(l)son and Towlson. Tomlinson is one of the patronymic forms of any of the surnames which derive from diminutive forms of the male personal name Thomas, an extremely popular given name during the Middle Ages in most European countries. Thomas is of biblical origin, from an Aramaic byname meaning "Twin", borne by one of the disciples of Christ, best known for his scepticism about Christ's resurrection. The personal name is found in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066 only as a priest's name, but with the advent of the Normans it was soon in general use, and is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) as "Thomas". The patronymic surname Tomlinson is first recorded in 1279, when Henry Tomlinson and Richard Tomlynson are listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns. The surname Towson and its variants are found particularly in the counties of Lancashire and Suffolk, and examples from Church Registers include the recordings of the christening of William, son of Christopher Towson, at the Church of St. Matthew, Ipswich, Suffolk, on July 6th 1566, and the marriage of Agnes Towson and James Addamson, on August 24th 1584, at Garstang in Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christopher Towson, which was dated 1553, in "Historical Manuscripts of Ipswich", Suffolk, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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.