If there was ever a good example of an English locational surname, 'Barkway' must be it. The name is locational, it derives from a village in Hertfordshire called today 'Barkway', but originally recorded by the Norman-French clerks in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Bercheuui'. In the year 1212 in the time of King John, the name changed slightly to the more English spelling of 'Berkeweya', but not until the 16th century did it assume its 'modern' form. It would seem that about the same time a group of people left the original village and journeyed across country, finally settling in the county of Suffolk in the area of Bungay, Beccles, and Fressingfield. These people were called by the locals 'Barkway or Barkaway', as identification. Thereafter the vast majority of all recordings are to be found in this small region. The first of the recordings as shown below is in the reign of Charles 1st, and this maybe significant, in that it was a time of religious and social unrest. Suffolk was a strong puritan county like most of East Anglia, and perhaps the original 'Barkway's' were of that persuasion. Recordings of the surname include Ann Barkway of Colchester, Essex, in 1789, when she married William Kemp, and Walter Frederick Barkway, recorded at St Brides church, Fleet Street, London, on September 2nd 1856. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margarett Barkway, which was dated January 28th 1638, christened at Little Saxham, Suffolk, during the reign of King Charles 1st, known as '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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