This very interesting surname has ancient Olde English pre 7th century origins. It is one of the oldest non Norman surnames on record and yet surprisingly, little is known about it. In the very earliest times of recorded history 'Snelgar' was a fairly popular baptismal name, being built up of the elements 'snel' meaning bold, and 'gar' - a spear. This type of compound was very popular with the 'dark age' tribes, being redolent of war and heroism. The early rolls give the recordings of 'Snelgarus' in the 1191 Sussex registers, and a similarly named person in Dorset in 1196, both being in the reign of Richard 1, The Lionheart. In Kent in 1205, in the Curia Regis rolls, Snelgar de Broke, is given as a knight holding lands. However the first true surname recording is probably that as shown below. Later examples include Francis Snelgar, who married Ann Parker at the church of St Lawrence Jewry, London, on December 12th 1594, and William Snelgar, the son of Nicholas Snelgar, christened at St Margarets, Westminster, on February 3rd 1585. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Snelgar, which was dated 1243, in the Assize Court rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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