Hardisty: a persistent surname
The Hardisty surname is derived from an English place name. From A Dictionary of Surnames (Hanks and Hodges), we learn that Hardisty “is a habitation name from a place in Yorks., in the parish of Fewston. The place name is recorded in 1379 as Hardolfsty, from the Old English personal name Heardwulf (composed of the elements heard hardy, brave, strong + wulf wolf) + Old English stïg path)”.
The Hardisty surname demonstrates the tendency of many surnames to remain persistent within the geographic region where they were formed. In LITTLE TIMBLE, GREAT TIMBLE & THE HAMLET OF SNOWDEN by William Grainge (1895), we are told that; “Hardisty or Hardistie – is one of the family names that appear to have sprung up on the Forest soil, flourished through all the period of recorded time, and is yet remaining in the land”.
A range of sources can be used to substantiate Grange’s claim.
Four hundred years following the Poll Tax reference on which the Hanks and Hodges reference is based, the 1881 census confirms that the surname was concentrated in the Poor Law Unions of Knarsboro, Warfdale and Bradford, close to the parish of Fewston. (see fig.1)
The British Listed Buildings site lists a Hardisty House in the Parish of Fewston near Hardisty Hill. It is described as having a “Coursed squared gritstone, graduated stone slate roof, 2 storeys, 2 bays, with rear outshut”. The door lintel displays the engraving “H 1728”, and is attributed to a William Hardisty. We learn further from an article in the Pately Bridge & Nidderdale Herald (1988), that “In 1681 William and Arthur Hardisty purchased the manorial rights of their part of the Forest of Knaresborough, and most of the Hardistys were listed in wills as yeoman”.
The Hearth Tax of 1672 reaffirms the presence of Hardistys in Hampsthwaite and Fewston parishes, where no fewer than 7% of taxpayers were Hardistys.
The Elizabethan Subsidy Roll (1597-8), references a Wil. Hardistie living in Clyfton.
Finally, the previously mentioned Poll tax of 1379 records that in “Villa de Tymble, Knaresborough Liberty”, Johannes de Hardolfsty and Stephanus de Hardolfsty were taxpayers.
A pattern of surname persistence is one which family historians should not overlook when researching the history of a family lineage.
Emma Pulman is a Social Media and digital Marketing Executive for Ancestry.co.uk. Based in Ancestry's London office in Hammersmith, Emma regularly tweets and posts on Ancestry's Facebook page.