This unusual surname is of Northern English locational origin from a place thus called in the West Riding of Yorkshire, near the town of Goole. The village is recorded as 'Esneid' in the Domesday Book of 1086, as 'Sneid' in the 1169 Pipe Rolls of that county and as 'Snaith' in the early Yorkshire Charters of the 12th century. The derivation of the name is said to be from the pre 7th century Norse-Viking 'sneid' which means 'a piece of land cleared for agriculture', and this seems to be a logical explanation given the continued presence of the Norsemen in the Yorkshire region. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, whilst Richardus de Snayth appears in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire. Other recordings include Alicia de Snayth, also in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls, whilst from the 16th century the surname is particularly well recorded in the Church Registers. These recordings include on April 17th 1575, Anna, the daughter of Richard Snayth, christened at Brandsburton, Yoprkshire, and on October 18th 1621, Christopher Snaith and Elizabeth Forman were married in Snaith itself. The blazon of the coat of arms most associated with the surname is probably that of a Silver field, charged with a black chevron between three falcons heads erased of the second, beaked in red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Snayth , which was dated 1272, The Register of the Freedom of the City of York, during the reign of King Edward I, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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