This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational name either from Hartlebury, a parish and village near Stourport, Worcestershire which was the seat of the bishops of Worcester, or from Hartlebury, a place near Bridgnorth in Shropshire. The former placename appears as "Heortlabyrig" in 817 in the Cartularium Saxonicum and as "Huertrberie" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Both placenames are composed of the Olde English personal name "Heortla" and the Olde English element "burh", meaning a fort or fortified place, possibly referring to a Roman or some other pre-English fort. The surname itself appears in records relatively late in the mid 16th Century (see below). Further recordings of the name include: the christening of John, son of Hughe and Alice Hartlebury, on January 1st 1564 at Birtsmorton, Worcestershire; the christening of Sible Hartlebury which took place at Birtsmorton also on October 8th 1573; and Thomas Hartlebury who was christened at St. Matthew's, Friday Street, London on June 24th 1711. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hughe Hartlebury, which was dated July 5th, 1563, marriage to Alice Walle at Birtsmorton, Worcestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, "Good Queen Bess", 1558-1603. 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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