A web site for the village of Hartshorne,
Derbyshire, United Kingdom.

 
 

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Origins

The following is taken from Derick Hartshorn's book about the Hartshorn(e) surname)...

A potted history

The family origin is conceded by many to be in the extreme southern portion of Derbyshire, England, in a town bearing the family name. The town of Hartshorn was the setting for the novel Ivanhoe written by Sir Walter Scott. He lived in the so-called "Ivanhoe House" at Ashby de la Zouche while writing the novel. Research done by Newton Timothy Hartshorn, who spent many weeks in the house in the early 1880's, credits the origin of the Hartshorn family as being from German Saxony, coming to England circa 300 A.D. at the behest of the Angles in their defense against the Picts and Scots. This band or company of men had for their tribal emblem, or rallying standard, a deer (or hart's) horn fixed on a pole and the man who carried it came to be known as "Hartshorn".

The place or land granted to that tribe or family was called Hartshorn. The Saxon Hartshorn clan, with their assimilation to the Angles, became Anglo-Saxons. They never completely accepted the rule of the Norman conquerors. With little documentation of the era of that time it is difficult to place the Hartshorns with the band of men today known as the "Men of Green" and other descriptive terms given to the fanciful characters today known as the men of Robin Hood.

It is interesting to note that the characters of the Sherwood Forest are given credence by the British writer, Rev. Charles Henry Hartshorne in his book, Ancient Metrical Tales, written in 1829, in which he credits the story to an earlier book, British Biographer. The fact remains that those of Anglo-Saxon origin were never on close terms with the continental invaders and were discriminated against for centuries. Newton Hartshorn was firmly convinced, after living in the Ivanhoe House for several years, that the Hartshorns were kith and kin with Locksley and the other popular characters of Sherwood Forest.

Older maps of England indicate that the parish of Hartshorn, located in Litchfield, Derbyshire, is roughly shaped like a "hart's horn." This could only be determined by cartographers at a much later date and would probably not be obvious to those that had known the parish as "Hartshorn" long before that since an aerial view would be required.

A relatively recent conjecture of the name of origin of the name Hartshorn is credited to the medicinal use of the hart's horn. Being ground up and used in the manufacture of ammonia in earlier times, the name hartshorn was applied to generic ammonium carbonate. This occurred well after the name Hartshorn had been established and was in common use.

The most probably derivation of the name is from the clan rallying standard, previously mentioned. It is thought that the original Germanic surname, Hirschorn, currently in usage today, had the same origin and may be the name they brought with them in 300 A.D.

The surname HARTSON is a derivation of HARTSHORN. No single family or line can lay claim to being the first "HARTSON." Several lines that settled in Connecticut and elsewhere changed the spelling of the name to fit the way the name was often pronounced.

 

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