This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from a now 'lost' place thought to have been situated in Devonshire, near the border with Somerset. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 14th Century in Great Britain, mostly due to the enforced 'clearing' of large areas to create sheep pastures during the boom in the wool trade of the 14th and 15th Centuries. The name 'Hurcombe' means 'the valley of the Herdsmen', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'hierda', herdsmen, and 'cumb', a coomb, deep hollow or valley. 'Cumb' is very common in the south-west of England placenames, and 'hierde' appears in the Somerset placenames 'Hurcot' and 'Hurcott'. The marriage of Mary Hurcombe and Robert King took place on July 3rd 1598 at Hayes, London. Anstice Hurcombe and William Ostler were married at Curry Rivel, Somerset, on the 5th April 1629. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margarette Hurkume (marriage to James Hutchins), which was dated 3rd February 1571, St. Sidwell, Exeter, Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, '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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