Recorded in various spellings including Hardwick, Hardwich, Hardwidge, Harwick, Kerswick and others, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational from one of the places now called Hardwick in the counties of Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Worcestershire, Yorkshire and specifically Derbyshire, where it is closely associated with the famous Elizabethan "Bess of Hardwick". The placenames are variously recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, as Harduich, Hardwic, and Hardewich, and however spelt share the same meaning of an outlying dairy farm. This is from the pre 7th century words "heorde", meaning a herd or flock", and "wic", which like the later Viking word "thorp" described an outlying farm or settlement, one dependent on a larger village. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving church registers include Robert Hardwick who married Margaret Grene, at St. Leonards Eastcheap on July 14th 1542, and Margerye Harswick christened on October 6th 1549, at St. Michael's Cornhill, both city of London. One of the early settlers in the English colonies of the New World was Francis Hardwick, recorded as being a landowner in the parish of St. Michaels, Barbados, in 1680. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anketill de Herdewic. This was dated 1221, in the Warwickshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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