BAREFOOT-L ArchivesArchiver > BAREFOOT > 2004-04 > 1083275818
From: Barbara <>
Subject: Re: Barefoot name origin
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 2004 16:56:58 -0500
derivative of Barfoot
English and Scots: nickname for someone who was in the habit of going
about his business unshod, from Old English boer + fot bare, naked +
foot. It may have referred to a peasant unable to afford even the
simplest type of footwear, or to someone who went barefoot as a
religious penance. [Black, 1962]
however, is convinced that as a Scots surname it is of local origin.
Cognates: German: Barfuss. Low German: Barfaut, Barfoth. Danish: Barfod,
[Hanks and Hodges, 1988]
Origins of the Barefoot Name
In my research I have come across several different explanations of the
origin of the name Barefoot.Several of those explanations and their
sources follow.Most assuredly the name is not Native American, and it
seems that the Pennsylvania Barefoot line, at least, has connections to
Ireland.Whether it goes back further to Scandinavia is not known.
According to "Wallace-Bruce and Closely Related Families" by James Wallace:
A history of one branch of the Barefoot family says there were two
Barefoot men - Englishmen - who fought in the
Battle of Boyne on the Protestant side.They were brothers.After the war
(William, Prince of Orange, against James II,
1690) they were given by King William what was called Crown land in
Ireland.It is supposed the Barefoot men were
Episcopalian, as nearly all the British officers belonged to the
established church.The one we sprung from married a
Scotch woman who was said to be very devout and brought her family up in
the old secular fashion, always taking the
children with her to church. The Barefoot men were tall, measured six
feet or more, and of fair complexion.They were
There is also a tradition that among the foreigners - gallant
Protestants - who rallied to Prince William's banner from
France, Holland, Germany and Scandinavia, there were two Norwegians
named Barfod, who were descendants (or
claimed to be) of the Norwegian King Magnus III (1093-1103) and that for
their valor in the Battle of the Boyne King
William bestowed upon them Crown land in Ulster, Ireland.
According to information contained in the Genealogy of James Barefoot,
Sr., and Mary Sleek (Slick):
King Magnus III, called Magnus Barefoot, was the son of Olaf III
(ruled1066-1093) considered Norway's patron
saint.Magnus was born in 1073 and came to the throne in 1093.He made
three expeditions to Scotland and
established rule over the Orkneys and the Hebrides, including the Isle
of Man.On returning home from his conquest of the Hebrides around 1097
he adopted the dress in use there and went about barelegged, having a
short tunic and also an upper garment, and so men called him
"Barefoot."[This is the earliest authentic mention of the kilt.]On
August 24, 1103 Magnus and a few of his men were waiting to receive a
promised herd of cattle in a swampy region near Ulster, Ireland, when
they were ambushed by a large group of Irish.Magnus was killed.He was
given a Christian burial and is interred somewhere near Dublin.He was
succeeded by his three sons - Olaf IV, Eystein I, Sigurd - who reigned
According to Barefoot-Withrow Families" by Anne and Vivian Daughterty:
The name Barefoot is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name.The name Robert Barefot
was recorded in
Northamptonshire,England as early as 1160 according to "The First
Century of English Feudalism" by F. M. Stenton.The name Reginald Barfot
is in the "Pipe Rolls of Cumberland" in 1203.A John Barfot was in the
"Assize Rolls of Kent" in 1317.The name Barefoot has had many spellings
over many years.Barefoote, Barfoot, Burfot, Berfot to mention a few.The
Danes spell the name Barfoed.The Norwegian spelling is Barfod.Barford is
the name of several places in England (other spellings of this name were
Barley Ford, Ford of the Bear and Birch Ford).In England the name was
also given to one who went barefooted and persons sent to a holy place
as a penance were often ordered to go barefoot.
From "New Dictionary of American Family Names" by Eldson C. Smith,
published by Harper & Row, 1956:
Barefoot (Eng) one who had the habit of going about barefoot; persons
sent to a holy place as a penance were often ordered to go barefoot; one
who came from Barford (barley ford, ford of the bear, birch ford), the
name of several places in England.
Some, including my aunts, connect the name to the Scandanavian name, not
implying a direct descent from Magnus.
Heimskringla or The Chronicle of the Kings of Norway
Magnus Barefoot's Saga
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #15b
1. King Harald
2. King Olaf
3. Magnus,Viken king of all Norway
(A.D. 1094 )
contracted in marriage his son Sigurd to Biadmynia, King
Myrkjartan's daughter. Myrkjartan was a son of the Irish king
Thialfe, and ruled over Connaught.
King Magnus should marry the Swedish King Inge's daughter
Margaret, who afterwards was called Peace-offering.
King Magnus had some children before, whose names shall
here be given. The one of his sons who was of a mean mother was
called Eystein; the other, who was a year younger, was called
Sigurd, and his mother's name was Thora. Olaf was the name of a
third son, who was much younger than the two first mentioned, and
whose mother was Sigrid, a daughter of Saxe of Vik, who was a
respectable man in the Throndhjem country; she was the king's
People say that when King Magnus came home from his
viking cruise to the Western countries, he and many of his people
brought with them a great deal of the habits and fashion of
clothing of those western parts. They went about on the streets
with bare legs, and had short kirtles and over-cloaks; and
therefore his men called him Magnus Barefoot or Bareleg. Some
called him Magnus the Tall, others Magnus the Strife-lover. He
was distinguished among other men by his tall stature.
When King Magnus had been nine years king of Norway (A.D. 1094-
1102), he equipped himself to go out of the country with a great
force. King Magnus sailed to Ireland with his fleet, and plundered there.
King Myrkjartan came to his assistance, and they conquered a great part of
country, both Dublin and Dyflinnarskire (Dublin shire). King
Magnus was in winter (A.D. 1102) up in Connaught with King
Myrkjartan, but set men to defend the country he had taken.
Towards spring both kings went westward with their army all the
way to Ulster, where they had many battles, subdued the country,
and had conquered the greatest part of Ulster when Myrkjartan
returned home to Connaught.
King Magnus was ten years king of Norway (A.D. 1094-1105).
King Magnus was nearly thirty years of age when he fell.
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>Does anyone know the origin of the surname Barefoot? I have heard Ireland and England.. Does someone know for certain?
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