The surname of BARNES was a locational name 'from residence at the barn'. Locational names usually depicted where a man owned his land and indicated where he actually lived. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Early records of the name mention Philip de Bernes, 1327 County Surrey, William atte Berne of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Ricardus le Barne et uxor, 1379 ibid. Henry atte Berne, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). An eminent member of the name was Thomas Barnes (1785-1841) the English editor and journalist born in London. He was educated at Christ's Hospital and Prembroke College, Cambridge. In 1809 he became the dramatic critic of The Times, and in 1817, editor, a post he held for 24 years. He made The Times 'the thunderer'. William Barnes (1800-86) was the English pastorial poet. He was the son of a farmer and became known for his Poems of Rural Life in the Dorset Dialect, which were published in 1879. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Registered to John Barnes Esq, of Bunker's, Cumberland.
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