The surname of HARDS was a locational name 'of Harden' a hamlet in the parish of Bingley in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. The name was originally derived from the Old English word HARA and DENU, literally meaning the dweller at the hare-enclosure. Following the Crusades in Europe a need was felt for a family name. This was recognized by those of noble blood, who realised the prestige and practical advantage it would add to their status. Early records of the name mention Ricardus de Hareden, County Wiltshire in 1273 and Thomas Harden was documented during the reign of Edward 111. (1327-1377). Willemus de Hardeyn was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is often assumed that men 'adopted' their surnames. Some certainly did, but the individual himself had no need for a label to distinguish him from his fellows. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each knight owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized. Monasteries drew up surveys and extents with details of tenants of all classes in their services. Any description which identified the man was satisfactory, his father's name, the name of his land, or a nickname known to be his. The upper classes mostly illiterate, were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary. Later instances of the name include James Harden who married Jane Cotton in London in the year of 1577.
Baptised. Saray Harden, St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1671.
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