This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name, deriving from one of the various places in England called Beer and Beere; for example, Beer near Colyton in Devon, which appeared as "Bera" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Most of these places are situated in South-West England, with the placenames in Devon deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "bearu", a grove or wood, while the places so called in Dorset and Somerset derive from the Olde English "baer", a swine pasture. The name may also have originated as a nickname for someone who was quick to anger, or who may have resembled a bear in some way, from the Olde English "bera", a bear. In the modern idiom the name is also found as Beer, Bear, Beara, Bere and Beere. One William de la Bera was recorded in 1168, in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, and Ralph Bere was mentioned in 1177, in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. Eight Coats of Arms have been granted to Beare families, for example, in 1586 one was granted to a family living in Kent, which depicts a black bear rampant and a red canton on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ordric de Bera, which was dated 1168, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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