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About the study
After doing a considerable amount of research into the ESSERY families and starting a One Name Study on that surname, it became apparent that the most likely (or prolific) corruption to the ESSERY name had come from ESWORTHY.
Therefore a quick trawl of the Births, Marriages and Deaths was undertaken and a second One-Name Study introduced.
The name is sufficiently different from ESSERY and has so many variants that I do not think it can be classified as a variant of ESSERY (or vice versa).
The name appears to have many variations, chiefly:
Essworthy Esworthie Essworthie Esseworthie
Eswoorthy Esswoorthy Esworthye Eazworthy
Isworthy Esseworrhye Esworthys Essworth
Other surnames are also possibly a corruption, eg Elsworthy and Ebsworthy (especially when you remember that the 'ss' was written as 'fs' until fairly recent times).
The last use of Esworth that I have is a marriage of Thomas in 1841, the last use of Essworthy was a birth in 1880 and four other unusual spellings were recorded in London, three Estworthy and one Essherby. Otherwise all spellings were Esworthy.
This surname ESWORTHY appears to be derived from a small 'worth' (ie originally a collection of two to three houses) in the parish of Hatherleigh in the Black Torrington Hundred of North Devon, England. The village , if it can be called that, is spelt Esworthy now, and was spelt Esseworth in 1283, Esseworthi in 1330. The first element may be the personal name Essa, possibly a pet form of Eadsige.
The surname ESSWORTHY (qv) is mentioned in conjunction with ESSERY in 'A Dictionary of Devon Surnames' by Spielgelhalter, using Rt. Essaworthy of 1275 as a reference.
The small worth of Esworthy (now only one farm) is the most likely origin of the surname. The oldest reference in the IGI is to one AGNIS ESWYRE which could sound like both ESSERY and ESWORTHY when said with a Devon accent. The worth had at one point five farms and two rows of terraced cottages, but no public house, church or even a well.
Historical occurrences of the name
There were 76 entries in the 1881 Census for ESWORTHY or its variants though there doesn't appear to be a huge change in the population when comparing each 10 year period. There has been a steady but slow decline since 1901 though, reaching an all time low in 1981 of 33 people. This has risen since though to 40.
Looking at the people still alive, most of the families appear to have had all of their children, no new children having been born for some time. Of the children there are only two males who might bear children in the future. The future does not look bright for this surname.