Recorded as Yard, Yarde, and the diminutives Ardey, Ardy, and the rare Yardie, Yardey and Yardy, this is an English surname. Research suggests that the most probable origin is that it denoted someone who held an area of land known as a 'yarde'. This was from the Middle English word 'yerd' meaning an enclosed or fenced area was sufficient to feed a family of four, and to produce a surplus to sell on. As such it was probably about thirty acres dependant on the quality of the land, otherwise known as a quarter of a hide. A person holding or owning a 'yerd', would have been regarded as a reasonably prosperous yeoman. Early examples of recordings include Hugh atte Yeard of Somerset in 1327 and Peter Yard who married Deborah Clark at the church of St. Phillip and St. Jacob, in the city of Bristol in 1725. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de la Yurda. This was dated 1225, in the Assize Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry IIIrd of England, 1216 - 1272. 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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