This most interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Bairstow in West Yorkshire, probably so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century element "beger", berry and "stow", place. The surname is also found in the modern idiom as Barstow, Baistow and Bastow, and first appears in records in the late 13th Century (see below). Locational names were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Thomas de Barstowe was recorded in 1348 in Derbyshire Archaeological Records. Edward son of Edward Berstow was christened at Halifax in Yorkshire on September 21st 1541, while Christabella Berstow married John Hanson on January 18th 1545 also at Halifax. Edward son of Richard Bairstow was christened on January 9th 1569 at Halifax. John Bastow married Anne Throwgood on May 20th 1577 in London. A Coat of Arms granted to a Bairstow family depicts on an ermine shield, on a fesse between two cottises, black, three silver crescents. The Crest shows a demi eagle displayed, out of a crescent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Bayrestowe of Yorkshire, which was dated 1277, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272-1307. 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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