This uncommon surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from the hamlet of Barnsdale, north of Doncaster in the West Riding of Yorkshire, or from Barnsdale, east of Oakham in Rutland. The latter place, recorded as "Bernardeshull" in the 1202 Assize Court Rolls of Rutland, is so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal byname "Beornheard", with a first element "Beorn", Warrior, and "hyll", hill; hence, "Beornheard's hill". The former place shares the same meaning and derivation, and legend has it that Barnsdale Forest in Yorkshire was a haunt of Robin Hood. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On August 2nd 1562, Nycholas Barnsdale and Barbara Marshall were married at St. Margaret Pattens, London, and on April 13th 1572, Richard Barnsdall married Elizabeth Parler at St. Botolph's Bishopsgate, London. The marriage of William Barnsdall to Elizabeth Hill took place at Balderton, Nottinghamshire, on January 26th 1631. A Coat of Arms granted to the Barnsdall family is a shield divided per saltire gold and silver, charged with four black eagles displayed in cross, the Crest being a silver eagle's head and neck, beaked red, issuant from gold rays of the sun. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Bowrnestall, which was dated October 2nd 1553, christened at St. Martin and St. Gregory, York, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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