This surname of NEWIS was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'the dweller at the new house'. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form NIWEHUS. The name is also spelt NEWHOUSE and NEWISS. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Ralph de NIWEHUS, who was recorded in the year 1176 in County Yorkshire. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. A later record of the name mentions William ate NEUHOS, who was recorded in County Somerset in the year 1327, and William NEWISS of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered in County Lancaster. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name.
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