About the Last Name of Attwood
The surnames 'Attwood' and 'Atwood' have their origins (it would appear) in the Home and Midland counties of England, but now occur in most of the United Kingdom's former colonies and in particular the USA, with one or two appearances in other countries. This study is concerned with the collection of all occurrences of the surname worldwide. The study is relatively new, I have been collecting the data for a number of years but have only relatively recently commenced the One Name Study in ernest and am making progress (albeit slowly) in 'harvesting' data.
Some documented variations in spelling are Attwood, Atte-Wode, Atwood, Atwode, Attewode Attwode, Attewoode, Atwod, Atwud, Atud , Attwool, de Bois, deBoys, (French) and de Bosco (Latin) and many more!
Origin of the surname
The surname, Attwood is derived from a locative medieval bye-name, i.e. originating from a place name, such as -hill, -ford, -brook -well and of course -wood. The name would therefore appear to mean, 'dweller at or near a wood'. The Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames (Oxford University Press, 1997) gives the following definition: 'Attwood, Atwood: Attewode 1243...Robert Atwode 1457...'Dweller by the wood' OE wudu.' The name is made up of the most common preposition at, (Old English ǽt) which coalesced with the definite article the, to form the obsolete preposition atte, (Middle English) together with the Old English wudu, wiodu, wudu, wude, wode, wodd, woode, uud etc. (Oxford English Dictionary, 1989 Clarendon Press). The surname Atte Wode may be transcribed as de Bois (or de Boys) or de Bosco. There is therefore scope for further variation resulting from abbreviation, misspelling or an imprecise understanding of the language by the scribe, e.g. Joh Boys, 1357 (quoted in Nash's Worcestershire, 1799) and the Abbot of Evesham Abbey. William de Boys, 1345-1367.From: 'Houses of Benedictine monks: Abbey of Evesham', A History of the County of Worcester: Volume 2 (1971), pp. 112-27.