Recorded as Berksher, Berkshire, the dialectal Barkshire, and possibly others, this is an English regional name. It is locational from what is called Royal Berkshire, a county which contains the palace and castle of Windsor, the home of the British royal family. The county was one of the earliest to be recorded appearing as 'Bearruescir' in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 860 a.d, and as Barrucscir in 931 a.d. The name means the shire or region of the hills, which is quite an apt description. The surname is a 'from' name. That is to say a surname given as easy identification, to a person who had left Berkshire, and had moved somewhere else. Spelling being at best indifferent and local accents very thick often lead to the development of alternative spellings. In this case the surname is first recorded in the year 1249 when William Berksir is recorded in the Assize Rolls of Warwick, whilst a century later we have Willam de Barkescire of Kent in 1317, and two centuries after that John Barksher of Sussex in thee Tax subsidy Rolls of that county in 1525. Interestingly the name is always pronounced as 'Barkshire', which is probably the development from the spelling at the time of 10th century.
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