This is an English name of considerable antiquity, and usually recorded as Harding or Arding. It has its origins in the pre 7th Century personal name 'H(e)arding', the patronymic form of 'H(e)ard', and meaning 'the son of the hard one'! To be so called was well thought of in those far off days, when most 'names' were associated with war, glory and god. The origins are Anglo-Saxon (Germanic), and later after the 1066 Invasion, Norman-French as well. Whilst usually an independent byname, it may also be found as a short form of various pre 10th century compound names with 'hard' as a first element, such as 'Hardwulf', although this does not seem to have come down as a modern day surname, or 'Hardstaff' which has, although this latter maybe a medieval nickname of less salubrious meaning. St. Stephen who died in 1134, was called 'Harding', although purely as a 'given' name. He became Abbot of Citeaux in France in 1110, and founded a severe religious order there, which became known as the Cistercians. Amongst the first colonists of the State of Virginia, New England, was Christopher Harding, who is has the doubtful honour of being recorded as 'kild' at a place called 'At west and Sherlow hundred' sometime before February 16th 1623. A Coat of Arms was granted to William Harding, a citizen of London, by Queen Elizabeth 1st in 1568. This has the blazon of a red field, charged with three gold greyhounds. The crest is a demi leopard rampant on a golden chain. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Harding, which was dated 1199, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northamptonshire", 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.