This name HARCARSE was from the lands of Harcarse in the parish of Fogo, Berwickshire. Adam of Harcarres (cellerar) was elected abbot of Newbottle in the year 1216, and in 1219 he was the abbot of Melrose. Alan de Harekare was distrained for debt in 1254, and Alan de Harecarr, witnessed a charter before the year 1289. Sir Robert Harcars was the sheriff of Perth in 1304, and Alexander de Harcars, was the sheriff of Forfar in 1306. Robert Harkars was granted a charter of the barony of Kelour in 1324, and John de Harkers had a gift from the king in 1329. The first people in Scotland to aquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. The name was carried to Orkney and three individuals named Hercas were documented there in 1539. William Arcas or Orcas was the baillie of Kirkwall in 1568 and James Harcas was in the Scottish Parliament in 1605. A branch of the family went from Dumfreisshire to Ulster in the seventeenth century, and settled finally in the county of Limerick. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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