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Barkwith Coat of Arms / Barkwith Family Crest

The surname of BARKWITH was a locational name 'the dweller at the barkway', from residence beside the track with the birch-trees. The name was an Old English place in County Hertfordshire, and derived from the Old English spelling of 'beorcweg'.

Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Bercheuuei, listed in the Domesday Book of 1066. In 1086 the compilation of the Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqueror (1027-87), king of England from 1066. He was born in Failaise, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, by Arlette, a tanner's daughter. On his father's death in 1035, the nobles accepted him as a duke. When Edward the Confessor, king of England died in 1066, William invaded England that Autumn, on 14th October, 1066 killing Harold (who had assumed the title of King). English government under William assumed a more feudal aspect, the king's tenants-in-chief and all title to land was derived from his grants, and the Domesday Book contains details of the land settlements, and the names of the owners of such.

The name was spelt as Berchwei (without surname) in Hertfordshire in the year 1176 and Berkeweya (without surname) in 1212, County Essex. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.

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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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