This name, with variant spellings Cleaworth, Claworth and Clayworth, is of English locational origin from a place in Nottinghamshire called Clayworth or from Cleworth, some spot believed to be in south Lancashire. The former, recorded as Clavorde in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Claworth circa 1130 in ancient registers of Nottinghamshire, derives its name from the old English pre 7th Century "clawu" literally meaning a claw or cloven hoof, but used here in a transferred topographical sense to describe a tongue of land or river fork, plus "worth", a homestead or enclosure.Clayworth is situated at the junction of two streams. The Lancashire place shares the same meaning and derivation. On October 6th 1548 Margerie Cleworth and James Hutton were married in Leigh, Lancashire, and on January 15th 1617 John Cleaworth, an infant, was christened in St. Dionis Backchurch, London, his brother, Thomas "Cleyworth" was christened there on June 9th 1622, and on December 11th 1665 Robert Claworth was christened in Lenton, Nottinghamshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Cleworthe, of Hulton, which was dated 1332, in the "The Lay Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", 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.
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