This interesting and unusual surname widely recorded in Lincolnshire church registers from the mid 16th Century, under the variant spellings Halgarth, Halegarth, Hawlgarth etc., is of northern English locational origin either from Hallgarth, a hamlet north east of Durham, Co. Durham, or from a minor place thus called south east of Carnforth in Lancashire. Both places were so named from the old English pre 7th Century "hall", a meeting place; building for worship; court of law etc., plus "garth", enclosed ground, from the old Norse "garthr", garden. On October 16th 1575 Willmus Halgarth and Elizabeth Passelei were married in Alford, Lincolnshire and on April 27th 1676 the marriage of Ann Hallgarth and William Ellers took place in East Kirkby. Further recordings include the christening of Ann, daughter of Richard Hallgarth, in Hunmanby, Yorkshire, on July 11th 1746; the marriage of John Hallgarth to Mary Close in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, on November 25th 1756, and the marriage of William Hallgarth to Elianor Usher in Tanfield, Durham, on May 12th 1767. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Halgarth, (marriage to Alice Atkinson), which was dated May 6th 1564, at Normanby-le-Wold, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.