The surname of HARBOUR was an occupational name 'the harbourer' one who gave shelter and provided lodging in a house. The name was derived from the Old English word HEREBERE. Early records of the name mention Geoffrey Herbour, County Cambridge, 1273. Richard le Hareber, County Norfolk, ibid. Augustine le Herberer was documented in the year 1319 in London. Ann Harber was buried at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1656. Thomas Shaw married Ann Harbour at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1785. The name has many variant spellings which include HARBOR, HARBOUR and ARBER. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers, and David Harber, born at Aberdeen, was granted letters to travel into England in the year 1479, and appears to be the first of the name on record. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but the main of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name.
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