This interesting surname of English origin with variant spellings Hurst, Herst, Hearst, Hirst, etc. is either a topographical name for someone who lived on a wooded hill, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "hyrst", or a locational name from one of the various places called Hurst, in Berkshire, Kent, Somerset, and Warwickshire, or Hirst in Northumberland, and West Riding of Yorkshire. The surname dates back to the late 11th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Helias de Hirst (1177) Yorkshire, "Records of the Templars in England in the 12th Century, and Walter del Hurst (1196), "The Pipe Rolls of Buckinghamshire". Church records include one Mary Herst who married John Pasmor on January 9th 1623, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and Mary Hearst married John Penrose on January 5th 1661, at St. Mary's, Putney. One F. Herst (aged 16), a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the symmetry bound for New York on May 18th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Herst, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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