This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Burgheard", composed of the elements "burh, burg", fort, similar to the Old High German "burg" (from the Old French element), the common Germanic word for a fortification, and the Olde English "heard", hardy, brave, strong. The name was reintroduced into Middle English by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066 in the forms "Bou(r)chart, Bocard"; this resulted in many variants of the surname, including Burkart, Borkett, Burchett, Burkett, Burchatt, Burchard, and Butchard. The form "Burkhard" was a very popular medieval German name. The surname was first recorded in 1207 (see below), and early examples include: Thomas Burchart (circa 1248, Suffolk); Walter Buchard (1255, Wiltshire); and Richard Burkett (1524, Suffolk). One John Burkitt, aged 21 yrs., was an early emigrant to the American Colonies, having sailed aboard the "Falcon" in December 1635 bound for the Barbadoes. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is three gold mullets on a red shield, the Crest being a dexter arm embowed, brandishing a club proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Bocard, which was dated 1207, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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