Hazelhurst – the Name

The family name Hazlehurst emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Cheshire, where the first record of the name is found.   In ancient times they were seated here both before and after the Norman Conquest in the year 1066. The adoption of second names or surnames in Europe took place from the 11th century onwards.

Surnames generally fall into four main categories. 

  • Occupational names describe the person’s profession.
  • Locational names describe the person’s dwelling or place of origin.
  • Descriptive names distinguish the person by some physical characteristic or mannerism.
  • Patronyms are the adoption of the person’s father’s first name as a surname.

Hazelhurst is a locational name meaning originally “a dweller at the hazel wood”, derived from the old English “haesel-hyrst”.

The name was also abbreviated to Hayhurst in Ribchester in Lancashire in the 15th century and also branched to Dutton, Preston and Dilworth.  The family name Hazlehurst is one of the most notable of the ancient Anglo/Saxon race.  This forwarding race of England, fair skinned people led by the Saxon general/commanders Hengist and Horsa, settled in Kent from about the year 400 A.D.

Edward Hazlehurst, the first settler in South Africa, came from a family in Cheshire. He abbreviated the surname to “Hazel” when resident in Natal and in about 1857 he included “Hurst” using the full spelling.

It can be confusing as many different spellings occur in the archives.   Apart from the spellings of Hazelhurst, Hazlehurst, Haselhurst, Heselhurst, changes in spelling of family surnames which frequently occurred, even between father and son.   There is one record of a father and eight sons; in the graveyard where they are buried, all nine have different spellings of their surnames!  Many reasons were revealed for these spelling variations but mainly church officials and scribes spelled the name as it was told to them.  Blood brothers, Mike Haselhurst and David,


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