The name could derive from a locational origin - 'ot' being by or of, 'way' being track or road, thus being the name for the person living by the track/road. Some research suggests this might be the road belonging to Otaway.
Alternatively, the name could have originated from the Old Germanic OTWICH, suggesting a Saxon origin. However, with the arrival of the Normans, many names were altered into Old French. The new name might have been OTOIS. The Anglo-Saxon form was Othwig: it meant 'prosperous, victory'. As names changed with pronunciation and a lack of the written word, this could have produced the following variations:
The earliest mention of the name, spelt as it is today, found so far is in Assize Rolls for Lancashire, 1260, when ROGER OTWAY is listed.
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