Recorded in several surname forms including A'Barrow, Harborough, Harborow, Harburghand even Horburgh, this interesting surname is English and locational. It originates from one or any of various places and most particularly from Harborough, as found in Market Harborough of Leicestershire, and in Warwickshire, Magna and Parva Harborough. The derivation of the former is from the Old English word "haefera", or the Old Scandinavian "hafri", both meaning oats, with "beorg", a hill, thus "a hill where oats were grown".However Harborough in Warwickshire has a different source for the first element, the Old English "heord", meaning a herd or a flock. The earliest recordings of these places are "Hauerberga" in the Pipe Rolls of Leicestershire in 1177, and "Herdeberge", in the famous Domesday Book for Worcestershire in 1086. During the Middle Ages, people would often be given as their name the name of their former village when they moved to other places. This made for easy identification of strangers, even those from the next village! As examples taken from surviving church registers we have William A'Barrow who married Mary Hunt on July 2nd 1649 at Knightsbridge, London, and earlier that of Anne Harborow who was christened at St. Stephen's in the city of London in 1545. This was during the reign of King Henry V111th of England and known to some but not his wives as 'Good King Hal', 1509-1547. 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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