This is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Hardingham in the county of Norfolk. The place itself is first recorded in the year 1161 as Hardingeham. As such it is one of the very rare examples of a place name which has barely changed its spelling during the last millenium when there have been no less than four major changes to the English language. Locational surnames were usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes and moved to another place. In this case the first recording is from about as far away as it was possible, to be whilst still remaining in England, with John de Hardingham being recorded in the county of Somerset in the charters known as Kirby's Quest in the year 1273. The place name and hence the surname means 'The place (ham) of the Hearda people (-ing)', an ancient tribe, whose name did probably mean that they were literally 'hardy'. The surname has always been quite rare, however it is known that at least five examples were to be found in the London church registers in about the year 1600, but only one in Lincoln at the same period.
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