This name, with variant spelling Hardesty, is of Northern English locational origin from Hardistys in Nesfield Yorkshire. There is also a spot called Hardisty Hill in the parish of Fewton, Yorkshire. Recorded as Hardolfsty in 14th Century documents relating to that county, the first element is the Old English personal name Hardolf, a compound of 'hard', meaning 'hardy', 'brave', or 'strong', plus 'wulf', a wolf, ultimately from the Old Norse 'ulf', wolf, plus the Old English 'stig', sty. A sty was a pen, enclosure or cabin generally for a cattle, poultry, or swine, hence, 'hardolf's sty'. The surname from this source was first recorded in the latter part of the 14th Century, (see below). Ann Hardisty and William Slingsby were married in Fewston on February 1st 1600. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes de Hardolfsty, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire', during the reign of King Richard 11, known as 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377 - 1399. 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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