This long-established surname is of Old Norse origin, and is a topographical name from residence near an enclosure, normally a paddock or orchard, deriving from the Northern Middle English "garth", ultimately from the Old Norse "garthr", enclosed area, yard. Topographical surnames, such as this, were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing name in the small communities of the Middle Ages. In some instances, the name may be specifically locational from Garth, a minor spot in the Sunderland county borough of Durham. Early examples of the surname include: Mariota del Garth (Cumberland, 1332) and Willelmus del Garth' (Yorkshire, 1379). On May 14th 1564, William Garth, an infant, was christened at St. Crux, Yorkshire, and on November 13th 1572, the marriage of Thomas Garth to Ellynor Dickison took place at St. Andrew's, Auckland, Durham. A notable bearer of the name was Sir Samuel Garth (1661 - 1719), physician in ordinary to King George 1, and physician-general to the army. In 1700, he made a Latin oration over the body of Dryden as it lay in state at the College of Physicians. The family Coat of Arms is a gold shield, with two lions passant in pale between three black crosses crosslet fitchee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John del Garth, which was dated 1297, in "Early Medieval Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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