This very interesting and long-established surname may derive from any of three distinct sources, each with its own history and interpretation. Firstly, Heare may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a variant of the more familiar Hare, itself a nickname for a swift runner, or for someone who bore a fancied resemblance to the hare, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hara", Middle English "hare". Nicknames, from which many surnames derive, were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. John le Hare was recorded in the 1197 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. The second possibility is that Heare is of Irish origin, and an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic "O'hAichir", descendant of Aichear, a male given name from "aichear", fierce, sharp. The O'hAichir sept resided in the ancient Ulster territory of Oriel. On June 27th 1563, Margaret Heare and Henry Byrde were married at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London, and on June 23rd 1663, Margarett, daughter of William Heare, was christened at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Londonderry. Finally, Heare may be of medieval Germanic origin, and a variant of Herr, itself either a nickname for someone who behaved in a lordly manner, or for someone in the service of the lord of the manor, deriving from the Middle High German "herre", lord. On March 26th 1708, Henrici Hear witnessed a christening at Pfalz, Bayern, Germany. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter le Hare, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Surrey", 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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