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Walworth

Recorded in the spellings of Wallwork and Walworth, this long-established Lancashire name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname of slightly uncertain provenance. The name is very well recorded in Lancashire from the Middle Ages, in forms with both "-work" and "-worth", but no place in Lancashire with a similar name has been identified. It may well be one of the estimated seven to ten thousand now "lost" places of Britain, which disappeared through such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or from the effects of the Enclosure Acts from the 15th Century on. It is however possible that the surname Wal(l)work derives from places in County Durham and Surrey (now Greater London) called Walworth. These places are both named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "w(e)alh", foreigner, Briton, and "worth", enclosure, homestead. The term "walh" was used in different parts of Britain to denote variously Scotsmen, Welshmen and Bretons, and was particularly used by the Anglo-Saxons to refer to enclaves of Welsh-speaking people. It is more than possible that there was such an enclave in Lancashire which gave rise to the modern surname. Early examples of the surname include: Ellis Wallworth (1544, Lancashire); Rychard Wallworke (1560, ibid.); Elline Walworche (1595, ibid.); and Gyles Waleworke (1624, London). The marriage of James Wallwork and Eleanor Boardman was recorded in Eccles, Lancashire, on February 1st 1583. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Wallerwork, which was dated circa 1324, in the "Medieval Records of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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.