This surname ASHARD was of the baptismal group of surnames meaning 'the son of Achard'. The name was derived from the Old German Agihard, and the Old French Achart, and was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Acardus de Lincolnia who appears in London in the year 1150, and Achardus de Sproxton was documented in 1177 in Leicestershire. Willelmus Archardi is mentioned in 1190 in Berkshire, and William Hachard appears in the same year in County Cambridge. Later instances of the name mention Johannes Hachet of Yorkshire, who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379, and Isabella Archard was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Thomas Acard, 1401 in Sheffield. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. In 1574, William, son of William Hatchett was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London and Thomas Hatchard married Jane Smither at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1787. The name has many variant spellings which include Hatchard, Hatchette, Achard, Ackert and Ashard.
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