This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a now "lost" place in the parish of Mottram, Cheshire, recorded in the 13th Century as "Mottresheved", from the genitive case of the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Motere" meaning speaker, plus the Middle English "heved", a development of the Olde English "heafod", head (land), hill. This place is 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 of the former inhabitants 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 surname dates back to the early 14th Century (see below), and early recordings include John de Mottershead, of Mottram (1415) in the Wills Register of Chester. Church Records list the christenings of Edward Mottershed on January 16th 1562, in Prestbury, Cheshire, and of John, son of John and Mary Mottershead, on January 25th 1634, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is black, on a silver chevron between three gold crosses crosslet, three red quatrefoils. The Crest is the stump of a tree proper, a green branch issuing from the dexter side. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Mottershead, which was dated 1337, in the "Wills Register of Chester", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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