Harkitt History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The name Harkitt reached English shores for the first time with the ancestors of the Harkitt family as they migrated following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Harkitt family lived in Oxfordshire. Their name, however, refers not to this location, but to the family's place of residence prior to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066: one of two towns, Harcourt, in Calvados, Normandy, or Harcourt in Eure, Normandy. 
Another source provides more detail: "A town and ancient chateau, now in ruins, near Brionne in Normandy, which gave title to the French Ducs de Harcourt. The ancient earls of Harcourt played a distinguished part in the history of Normandy. They were descended from Bernard, of the blood-royal of Saxony, who having been born in Denmark was surnamed the Dane. He was chief counsellor and second in command to Rollo at the invasion of Neustria in A.D. 876, and acquired Harcourt and other fiefs for his eminent services." 
"Robert de Harcourt attended William I. to the Conquest of England, and his descendants possessed Stanton-Harcourt, co. Oxon, from 1166 to 1830, when the elder line became extinct." 
Early Origins of the Harkitt family
The surname Harkitt was first found in Oxfordshire. Errand de Harcourt who claimed descent from Bernard the Dane, who was granted the Lordship of Harcourt from Rollo of Normandy in 876 commanded the Archers of Vel de Ruel in the Conqueror's army. Rather than staying with his fellow countrymen in the newly conquered country, he returned to Normandy shortly after William's coronation. His younger Robert who had also accompanied him on the Conquest remained. Robert's son, William de Harcourt, a strong supporter of Henry I., commanded the troops that defeated the Earl of Mellentin in 1123. In return for his noble efforts, he received many more lands in England. 
Some of the early notables of the family include: Philippe d'Harcourt (died 1163), Chancellor of England (1139-1140); Louis d'Harcourt (died 1388), Vicomte de Châtellerault, Governor and Lieutenant Général of Normandy (1356-1360); Jacques I d'Harcourt (1350-1405), Baron of Montgommery, Councillor and Chamberlain of king Charles VI; Jacques II d'Harcourt (died 1428), Comte de Tancarville, Governor and Lieutenant Général of Picardie; Christophe d'Harcourt (died 1438), Lord of Havré, Councillor and Chamberlain of King Charles VII, grand-master of the waters and the forests; Guillaume d'Harcourt (died 1487), Comte de Tancarville, Ccounsellor and Chamberlain of King Charles VII, Constable and Chamberlain of Normandy, grand-master of the waters and the forests (1431).
This was the beginning of one of the most noble families in England that would quickly rise to the status of the House of Harcourt from which Simon, Lord Harcourt would become Lord Chancellor temp. Queen Anne.
Over in the parish of Wyrardisbury in Buckinghamshire, a more recent member of the family holds a piece of history. "Within its limits is Magna Charta island, a small islet in the Thames, on which King John, at the instance of the barons, is said by some to have signed the celebrated charter of English liberty; it is the property of G. Simon Harcourt, Esq., of Ankerwycke House, in the parish." 
William de Harewcurt was listed as an Old English Byname in 1055 and later, Philip de Harecourt was a Knights Templar in Sussex in 1139. 
Early History of the Harkitt family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Harkitt research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1714, 1727, 1574, 1631, 1574, 1590, 1609, 1603, 1642, 1661, 1727, 1612, 1673, 1618, 1679 and 1618 are included under the topic Early Harkitt History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Harkitt Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Harcourt, Harcutt, Harker, Harkett and others.
Early Notables of the Harkitt family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Field Marshall Harcourt; and Sir Simon Harcourt, who was Lord Chancellor of England during the reign of George the I (1714-1727).
Robert Harcourt (1574?-1631), was an English traveller, born about 1574 at Ellenhall, Staffordshire, was the eldest son of Sir Walter Harcourt of that place and Stanton Harcourt, Oxfordshire. "He matriculated at Oxford as a gentleman-commoner of St. Alban Hall on 10 April 1590, and continued there about three years. On 23 March 1609, accompanied by his brother Michael and a company of adventurers, he sailed for Guiana. On 11 May he arrived in...
Another 156 words (11 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Harkitt Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Harkitt family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Harkitt name or one of its variants: John Harcourt, who arrived in Jamaica in 1684; Edward Harcourt, who arrived in Texas in 1836; and Mary Harcourt, who settled in New England in 1773.
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Le bon temps viendra
Motto Translation: The prosperous time will come.
- The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
- Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
- Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
- Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)