This interesting and unusual surname is of topographical origin from one of two possible origins. Firstly it may derive from the Old English pre 7th Century "healf" meaning half and "gierd" a yard; hence it refers to someone living on a "half-yard" of land. In Great Waltham (Essex) land was measured in "yerds" (30 acres) and divided into halves and quarters. It may also be composed of the old English elements "hafoc", a hawk, a bird or prey and "gierd" an enclosure, and refers to a yard or enclosure where hawks are kept, either to breed to train.The surname from the second source possibly originated in Yorkshire as it is mainly found here. On October 18th 1655, Robert Halkyard married Hannah Lees in Saddleworth, Yorkshire, and Edward Halkyard was christened on June 4th 1693, in St. Peters, Huddersfield, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen atte Halvezerd, which was dated 1327, The Subsidy Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward 111, "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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