This unusual name, also found spelt 'Barugh' and 'Bargh' in the modern idiom, is of English locational and topographical origin. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century word 'beorh' meaning 'hill', Middle English 'bergh' - 'Bargh' being the northern form of the surname from that root, and 'Barrow' the southern. There are two places in Yorkshire which would have generated the surname, Barff Hill in the old East Riding of Yorkshire and Barugh, (pronounced 'barf') in North Yorkshire. As a topographical name, 'Barff' or 'Bargh' would denote someone who lived 'by the hill'. Samuel Barff (1793?-1880), became a prominent banker and merchant at Zante, in Greece and took part with Lord Byron in the Greek struggle for independence. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Bargh (witness). which was dated 1310 Fines Court, Suffolk. during the reign of King Edward II 'Edward of Caernafon' 1307-1327. 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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