- This interesting name has three possible sources the first being that it is of Scottish origin and is locational from two places so called, in Ayrshire and Renfrewshire, and derives from the Gaelic "barr", height or hill. Great Barr in the West Midlands has a derivation akin to this, the Celtic or Welsh "barr" with the same meaning as above. It could also be a Norman locational name from two places in France, Barr-en-Ouche, or Barr-de-Semilly which have their derivation in the Olde French "barre", meaning a barrier or gateway. There is a Middle English word "barre", with the same meaning, thus it is thought that this name could be topographical for one living near a place of that description. Hugo Barr was recorded in the Danelaw Documents relating to Lancaster in 1155, while the Assize Rolls of Stafford mention a William de Barre in 1199. In Scotland Albyn de Barr was baillie of Ayr in 1340. Anne Barr married John Bickerton on October 21st, 1731 at Christchurch, Greyfriars, Newgate in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Barra, which was dated in the Domesday Book of 1086, Somerset, during the reign of William 1, known as "the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.