This is an English name from the Olde English pre 7th century "baer", bare or naked, and "fot", foot and was used as a nickname for someone who habitually lived and worked without shoes on. It was used specifically of friars and pilgrims and those who went barefoot as a religious penance. There were similar examples in Medieval England for example "Barleg" and "Bareshanke". The friar in Shakespears' "Romeo and Juliet" is described as "a barefoote brother". The modern surname can be found as Barfoot, Barefoot and Bearfoot. One Mary Bearfoot was married to John Light at St. Michael's, Cornhill, London in 1717. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Barefot, which was dated circa 1160, Northumberland Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 11, "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017