This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant of the locational name Hargrave, from a number of places thus called. Hargrave in Cheshire is recorded as "Haregrave" in the 1287 Court Rolls of the county; Hargrave in Northamptonshire is recorded as "Haregrave" in the Domesday Book; Hargrave in Suffolk is recorded as "Haragraue" in the Domesday Book; and Hargreave in Cheshire is recorded as "Haregrave" in the Domesday Book. The derivation of the placenames is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "har", grey (with reference to the colour of the soil, or of the vegetation grown), or "hara", hare, with "graf", grove or thicket; hence, "grey grove", or "hare's grove". Locational surnames were given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area, and in this way the spelling of the name often changed with varying regional pronunciations. Henry de Hargreue is listed in the 1332 Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire. In the modern idiom the surname has many variant spellings ranging from Hargrave, Hargraves and Hargreaves, to Hargrove, Argreave and Argrave. The christening of William, son of James and Sarah Argrave, took place at St. Matthew's, Bethnal Green, London, on June 30th 1837. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Haregraue, which was dated 1188, in the "Pipe Rolls of Derbyshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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