This is an English and Yorkshire residential surname. Recorded in a number of spellings including Baraclough, Barraclough, Barrowclough, Barrowcliffe, and even Berrycloth, it is of locational origin from the place called Barrowclough near the ancient town of Halifax, in West Yorkshire. The derivation of the placename is from the Old English pre 7th century word "beara", meaning a grove or wood, and "cloh", a ravine or precipitous slope. Locational names were usually either those of the local lord of the manor and his descendants or were "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes and moved somewhere else. The easiest way to identify a stranger was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. Early examples of spelling include Elizabeth, the daughter of Robert Barraclough, who was christened on September 10th 1587 at St. Margaret's, Westminster, Franciscus Baraclough, who was christened at Rothwell, near Leeds, Yorkshire, on October 25th 1590, and Mary Barrowclough, who was christened on October 2nd 1650, at St. John's church, Hackney, in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Peter del Baricloughe. This was dated 1315, in the Court Rolls of the manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 11nd, 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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