Recorded in various spellings including Barth, Bart, Barts, Berth, Berthe, Birth, Borthe, Burth, and Byrth, this unusual surname is medieval, and generally English, although recorded in similar spellings in Scotland and throughout Europe. It is, wherever recorded, a nickname form of the ancient hebrew personal name "Bartholomew", meaning "rich in land". Bartholomew was rarely recorded in Europe before the 12th century but became very popular thereafter. This suggests that it was an "import" from the Holy Land, following the famous Crusades of the period. It became the fashion for returning Crusaders to give their children biblical names, in memory of the father's exploits. Subsequently these personal names in turn became surnames, and although in a sense of hebrew origin, were born only as surnames by Christians. Early examples of the surname recordings include William Barte, of London in the city rolls of the year1420, and George Byrth, who married Rebecca Paggitt, at St Nicholas church, Deptford, Kent, on August 29th 1598. Other recordings taken from the early church registers include Frances Burth, who married Thomas Hogg, at St Margarets, Westminster, on August 21st 1617, and Martha Birth, who married Richard Knight, at St Mary Le Bone, London, on February 24th 1689. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Award Bart, which was dated 1246, in the assize rolls of the county of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry III of England, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272.
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