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Surname Mottershaw - Meaning and Origin

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Mottershaw: What does the surname Mottershaw mean?

The last name Mottershaw is an English name, meaning “at the moor’s wood”. This topographical name comes from when a person lived at or near a moor or open area of land covered in heath, typically boggy and water-logged. The name consists of two elements; "moor," which is a Middle English word for open land or barren land, combined with "shaw," which is an area of wood.

The name Mottershaw is thought to have originated in the county of Yorkshire in Northern England. There are also places called Mottershaw or Mottershaw Heath, such as one located on the border of Derbyshire and Lancashire. This suggests the surname was developed as a toponymic place name, given to people who resided there. It might have been given to describe someone who moved to the area from somewhere else.

The variant spellings of Mottershaw include Motershaye, Mottishaw, Mottshaw, and Mottyshaw. It is also possible for this surname to be found with the prefix Mott, since Mottershaw could have been derived from the French Mott, meaning mound.

Regardless of the context it came from, Mottershaw is believed to have originated from a very old and established English surname, and with its roots in Yorkshire one can trace the Mottershaw family to a rich and varied history dating back many centuries.

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Mottershaw: Where does the name Mottershaw come from?

The surname Mottershaw is most common in the United Kingdom. It is particularly prevalent in the county of Derbyshire, in particular in and near the city of Derby. According to the 2011 UK census, there were over 1,100 people with the surname Mottershaw in the UK at the time of the census, making it the 623rd most common surname in the UK. This figure increased to 1,310 Mottershaws in the 2018 UK Census.

The origin of the name is thought to come from the anglo-Saxon words “motto”, meaning brave or bold, and “scaga”, a wood or thicket, suggesting that the name was originally linked to a brave person who lived near a wood.

This surname is also found in the United States, although it is far less common with fewer than 100 people bearing the name Mottershaw at the time of the 2010 US census.

The Mottershaws of Derbyshire, which is thought to be the most prominent source of the surname, originally lived near the village of Monyash in North West Derbyshire. Over time, Mottershaws spread their presence across Derbyshire and the surrounding counties. Today, the surname is also found in other parts of the UK, as well as the United States and Canada.

Variations of the surname Mottershaw

The surname Mottershaw is derived from a combination of two ancient English words: motte, which means a mound or hill, and shaw, which means a thicket or grove of trees usually located on or near the top of the mound. The Mottershaw family originated in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England in the 13th century. The earliest recorded spelling of the family name was Motteshawe, found in 1312.

Variants of the surname Mottershaw include Mottershewe, Mothshewe, Motteshewe, Mottishaw, Mottishawe, Mottishaa, and Mottershawe. Surnames from this same family origin include Mattishaw, Mattishawe, Matheshaw, Madshaw, Madshoe, and Madshawe.

The various spelling and surnames of the same origin appear to follow two phonetic patterns: the Mottershaw variant and the Mattishaw variant. The Mottershaw spelling focuses on the “sh” sound for the ‘shaw’ element, while the Mattishaw variant focuses more on the “sh” sound for the ‘matt’ element.

The Mottershaw spelling of the family surname was a common variant in the 1600s and 1700s, but has largely died out in the modern age. The Mattishaw variant remains the most commonly used variant of the surname globally.

Famous people with the name Mottershaw

  • Jack Mottershaw: British television producer and writer.
  • Torran Mottershaw: a Canadian professional ice hockey player who played for the Edmonton Oilers and Manitoba Moose,
  • Corinne Mottershaw: a British actress.
  • Chris Mottershaw: a British musician and soul singer.
  • Kelly Mottershaw: a British singer and songwriter.
  • David Mottershaw: a British voice actor.
  • Heather Mottershaw: a British journalist and news anchor.
  • Geoffrey Mottershaw: a British architect and town planner.
  • Matthew Mottershaw: a British politician, Member of Parliament for Kingston upon Hull North
  • Andrew Mottershaw: an English long-distance runner.
  • Richard Mottershaw: a British racing cyclist, Road Racing National Champion in 1983.
  • Charles Mottershaw: a British architect who worked in the Cotswalds area.
  • Alec Mottershaw: the first full-time vicar of St. Stephen’s Church, Stretford.
  • Jacqueline Mottershaw: a British poet and playwright.
  • John Mottershaw: a British civil engineer and leader of construction projects.

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