Recorded as Fossard, Fossord, Fozzard and Fuzzard, this unusual name is English. It is however of Old French origins and was introduced into the British Isles by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. It is said to be now chiefly found in Yorkshire. It is a topographical surname, derived from the word "fosse", meaning a ditch, and is a derivative of "fodire", meaning to dig. As a topographical name it denotes residence by or near a ditch, or at some minor place named with the same element. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created in Europe, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname is recorded early in Scotland, where one Alexander Fossarde of Tynningham was a tenant of the bishop of "Seint Andreu", Edinburghshire, who rendered homage to King Edward 1 of England in 1296. Recordings of the name from Yorkshire Church Records include: the marriage of Gertrude Fossard to Robert de Meynell in 1099, at South Otterington; the christening of Maria, daughter of Henry Fozzard, in Wragby, on August 31st 1645; and the marriage of Sarah Fuzzard and John Fearnley on November 13th 1672, at Birstallm near Leeds. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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