Derived from the Old French pre 10th century word 'Herbergeor' and introduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, this surname is a metonymic occupational name for a lodging house or inn-keeper, one who provided a 'safe harbour'. The Old English word is 'herebeorg' meaning shelter, from 'heve', army and 'beorg', shelter. In the late Middle Ages the term began to be used in the modern sense of a safe anchorage for ships. In the modern idiom the surname has a number of variations including: Harberer, Harbisher, Harbar, Arber and Harbour. One George Harbar was christened at the church of St. Mary Steps, Exeter, in Devonshire on the 3rd December, 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Herbour which was dated 1279 in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire. 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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