This is a surname of Anglo-Saxon 8th century origins. Recorded in several forms including Hard, Harde, Hardes, Harder, Harding, Hardeman or Hardiman, the surname derives from the Old German word 'heard' or the later Norman 'hard' and basically means what it says. It describes either a 'hard man', probably a successful warrior, or the son of a hard man, or it was occupational for a person who worked as a 'hardener', a process used by medieval bakers to obtain a fine crust on dough or pastry. The same word was used by Chaucer in late medieval times to describe a process within iron making, so there may have been two meanings from which the modern surname developed. It has been suggested that for a few nameholders the origination may be locational name from a place called Hardres, near Canterbury in Kent. This village name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "harath", meaning a wood. Early examples of the surname recordings include John Harder in the Curia Regis rolls of Dorset for the year 1220, Roger Hard in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1275, Walter Hardiman in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Early church register recordings include John Hardyman, the prebend of Chester, in 1563, and John Hardes who was christened in 1652, at St. Olaves church, Silver Street, London, and Mary, daughter of Michael and Marget Hards, was christened on March 18th 1705, at St. Olave's, Southwark. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert del Hard, which was dated 1232, in the Calendar of the Patent Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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