This most interesting surname is German, cognate with the English name "Harrod", which itself derives from the Anglo-Saxon personal name "Here-weald" meaning "army power". Harold was a popular Scandinavian given name; for example, Harold Harefoot was the second Danish King, succeeding Canute in 1035, and Harold 11, the last Saxon King killed at Hastings in 1066, was partly of Danish blood. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Radulfus Harold (1196) witness, "The Feet of Fines, Yorkshire", and Philip Herald (1327) "The Subsidy Rolls of Sussex".Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Harroll, Harrold, Harrel, Harrad and Harrod. One Syble Harrolde was christened at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street., London, on April 14th 1550, and Alice, daughter of Thomas Harold was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London in November 1613. Seven Coats of Arms have been granted to Harold families, in Suffolk and Shropshire. One Walter Harold was granted the Coat of Arms of his father-in-law, Edward Bee, Sheriff of Dublin who died in April 1614. This depicts a gold escarbuncle or precious stone between three silver estoiles on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Harold which was dated 1171, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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