This page is dedicated to the history of the branch of the Toes family from the North Yorkshire Moors.

The origin of the uncommon Toes surname is somewhat unclear, and partly clouded by the number of close variants. Some variants may have derived from the Mediaeval English attribute tow(e) meaning 'tough, steadfast or stubborn', others as a reduction of Attoe meaning 'dweller at the ridge'. There is some evidence of interchange with the more common Towers and Toy(e) names, but both of these seem to have a largely independent existence, and the distribution of the Towers name is noticeably different. What is clear is that the Toes name itself (along with the closely related variants Toas(e), Tose and Toze) had a noticeable concentration in North Yorkshire, especially the area around Whitby and the strip of parishes from Richmond down to York via Thirsk. The similar (and somewhat more common) Towse name (along with Tow(e)(s), Touse and Touze) was largely centred on the East Riding, although there was also an interesting concentration in Sussex by 1881 which may be the result of a more recent migration.

Robert Toes arrived in Whitby as the first curate of St. Mary's Church (previously administered from the Abbey) around 1570, and served as minister there and in nearby Skelton until his death in 1621. His descendants appear to have multiplied in Whitby and the Moors area, flourishing locally down to the present day. Although the picture of the family is still somewhat uncertain and fragmentary, a provisional tree of his descendants has been constructed, and the intention is to incorporate an outline here shortly.


Anyone interested in further details of this branch of the Toes family, or who is able to provide additional relevant details, is invited to contact the coordinator for this page Ian Hall.


This page was last updated 16 May 2007