This unusual and interesting name is the subject of some controversy regarding its origins. Certainly, it derives from the Celtic personal name "Arthur", but there is some doubt as to the etymology of the name. It is thought to be composed of "art", in Old Welsh "arth", meaning "bear", with the Old Welsh "gwr", meaning "hero". The name development includes: Robertus Arcturi (1197, Herefordshire); Adam Arthur (1246, Lancashire); Adam Arthur (1246, Lancashire); and Henry Artur (1327, Somersetshire). The Old Norse personal name "Arnthorr", derived from "arn", eagle, and "Thorr", the name of the god of thunder, has been absorbed into the Celtic name "Arthur", for centuries now associated with the historical 6th Century British leader who fought victorious battles against the Saxon invaders. The modern forms of the name are Arthur, Arter, Artharg, Arthurs and Arthars, the last two being the patronymic forms, meaning "son of Arthur". One Mathew Arthur of Plimpton, aged 18 yrs., departed from Plymouth in February 1634, aboard the "Bonaventure" bound for St. Christophers. He was one of the earliest namebearers to settle in the New World Colonies. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Arthur, which was dated 1135, in "Records of Oseney Abbey", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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