It is said that King Arthur circa 580 A.D. held possessions in Northumberland, and it may be that the surname derives from this ancient history. What is certain is that the personal name 'Arthur' derives from the Gaelic 'Artuir or Artur' meaning 'the bear' a nickname for a 'ferocious warrior'. The surnames of Arthy, Arty, Harty, Earthey and Arthie derive from Arthur and are a patronymic for 'the son of Arthur' or 'Little Arthur', the 'ie' or 'y' suffix being specific to Scotland and the North East of England. The name recordings include Christopher Arthy who married Janne Carlton at Wolsingham, on May 23rd 1694, whilst in 1806 Ann Arthie married William Freeman on November 15th of that year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mathoeus Arthey, which was dated May 22nd 1636, married Joanna Chapman at Easington, Durham, during the reign of King Charles I, The Martyr, 1625 - 1649. 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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