Recorded in several spellings including Hemsworth, Himsworth, and Hemswood, this is an English surname It is locational from Hemsworth, a village near Pontefract, in West Yorkshire. The place was recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as "Hamelesuurde" and later as "Hilmeuuord", and translates as "Hymel's enclosure or homestead". The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Hymel", meaning bear-cub, with the Olde English word "worth", meaning an enclosure or settlement. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by the lord of the manor, but especially by former inhabitants who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The first known recording may be that of Rychard de Hymeswort of Lincolnshire, in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, whilst recordings from Yorkshire church registers include the marriage of Francis Hemsworth and Joane Rawson on February 2nd 1576, at Aberford, near Leeds. A coat of arms granted to the family has the blazon of per saltire silver and gold, a black leopard's face, The crest has a dexter arm embowed in armour, grasping a sword and transfixing a black leopard's face. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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