This name is of locational origin either from the town and ancient chateau of Harcourt near Brionne in Normandy so called from the Olde French 'cour(t)' meaning a court, plus an obscure first element, or from Harcourt near Cleobury Mortimer in Shropshire. Recorded as Havretescote in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Havekercot in 'The Hundred Rolls of Shropshire' dated 1274, the name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century 'haforcere', a hawker or falconer, plus 'cot(e)', a cottage hence 'the falconer's cottage'. Another place called Harcourt near Wem in Shropshire; recorded as Harpecote in the Domesday Book, derives its first element from the Old 'hearpere', a harper. One, Philip de Harecourt was recorded in the Knights Templars Records, of Sussex, dated 1139, and Sir Robert de Harcourt (deceased 1202) acquired the manor of Stanton in Oxfordshire. Simon Harcourt, first Earl Harcourt (1714 - 1777) was governor to the Prince of Wales, 1751 - 1752. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Turchetil, Sire de Harcourt, which was dated 1024, 'Records of Norman Land Owners', during the reign of Canute the Dane, 1016 - 1035. 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.