Recorded in the spellings of Winterbotham and Winterbottom, this is a very old English north country surname from the 'Dales' region. It is habitational. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Old English phrase "wintra-botm" which describes the base of a valley used for grazing in winter and providing good shelter. It was the early nomadic farming tradition continued to this day, for flocks of sheep to winter in the 'botm' , before being taken to the "uplands" for the summer grazing. This tradition still applies. As an example Peter Winterbottom, true to the surname, being in 1990 a Yorkshire Dales farmer. He was also a member of the England rugby team. Early examples of recordings include Ann Winterbottom, who was christened at Manchester Cathedral on March 8th 1603, and Richard Winterbotham of Hartshead, Ashton under Lyne in 1618. Thomas Masterman Winterbottom M.D. (1765 - 1859) was a famous Victorian explorer. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gervasii Winterbothame, which was dated September 28th 1595, a witness at Winick Church, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.