This name, with variant spellings Winnwood, Windwood, Wynwood, etc., is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place is believed to have been in the West Midlands of England. The component elements are the Old English pre 7th Century "winn" meaning pasture, meadow or clearing plus "wudu" a wood or forest; hence "clearing in the wood". The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 16th Century (see below). On October 24th 1575, Margarett Winwood, was christened at Eastham, Worcestershire. A coat of arms granted to the Winwood family depicts a black cross on a silver shield. On the crest is an eagles head between two black wings expanded and a garland of green laurel in its beak, all on a ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Oliver Wynewed, who married Agnes Malthell, which was dated January 26th 1567, at Bayton, Worcestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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.