This surname of Olde English origins, has two possible origins. It maybe locational from the hamlet of Halfacre in Northill, Cornwall, where it seems to have been recorded since the 14th century or it maybe topographical for a person who lived at a place cultivated for agriculture, but not necessarily 'half an acre'. In medieval times an 'acre' referred basically to an amount of land which represented a small holding, and sufficient for a families needs. A 'half-acre' suggests that the land was less than would be required and was probably given as a bonus or gift by the lord of the manor, to a person who performed other duties. The use of the word 'half' appears in many surnames such as Halfnight, Halfhide, Halfpenny, Halfyard, etc, and it is not easy or practical to be precise as to the meaning of seven hundred or more years ago. In the case of Halfacre, it is one of the very early surnames, which in itself suggests that the nameholders were people of some stature, at a time when only land owners or at least land holders merited any mention at all! This prognosis would appear to be confirmed by the grant of arms to the Halfacres of Wiston in Cornwall, probably in 1620 although the date is not proven. The blazon is that of an ermine field, charged with a green chevron, and thereon three acorns, between three gold lions heads, erased in red. Early examples of the name recording include Edmond Halfacre, christened at the church of St Gregory, by St Pauls, London, on January 3rd 1573, and Elizabeth Halfacree, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, London on November 4th 1654, during the 'reign' of Oliver Cromwell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Halfacr, which was dated 1297, the accounts of the Duchy of Cornwall, 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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