This is an English and Devonshire surname. Widely recorded in the county and particularly in the area around Barnstaple in the north, with which it shares at least the suffix of the name, it is locational from a place called Huxtable. However we have to say that no such place would seem to be recorded in any of the known gazetters. Writing in the year 1880 the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley admits that he was 'unable to find the place', as he put it, except that it was 'within the area of Barnstaple'. We have been no more successful, and even a search of the 'lost and diminished' medieval village lists has not provided any further proof. The place name may translate as 'The post on a ridge' from the pre 7th century Old English 'hyrcg-stapel', with the 'post' in question being a parish or even county boundary maker, or a place where the local elders met to enact the legal business of the community. Barnstaple may mean the mooring place for ships, with 'stape'l taking on a transferred meaning. Early examples of the surname recordings in the Devonshire church registers include Agnis Huxtable, who was christened at West Down, on May 26th 1586, and William Huxtable and his wife Ann, who were witnesses at South Molton church, on December 31st 1776.
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