This interesting surname of English origin is either a topographical name for someone who lived by a grove, or a locational name from any of the numerous places called Barrow in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Shropshire, Suffolk and Somerset, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "bearo", "bearu" meaning "grove" or "wood". It may also be a topographical name for someone who lived by a hill or burial mound, or a locational name from either of the places called Barrow near Leicestershire and Somerset, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "beorg" meaning "hill" or "barrow". Finally, it may be a locational name from Barrow in Furness, Cumberland, which derives from the Celtic "barro" meaning "promintory". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below) and has several variant spellings including Barrows, Barrow and Berrow. One Thomas Barrowe married Elizabeth Letter on May 25th 1554, at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, and Nicholas Barrow was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, in October 1565. One Anne Barrow, aged 21, a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the "W. Ward" bound for New York on May 27th 1847. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Barewe, which was dated 1192, "The Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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.

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