This most interesting surname is a variant of "Hide", which has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be a topographical surname for the "holder of a hide", which described someone who lived on and farmed a piece of land originally named as a "hide of land" from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hi(gi)d". A hide was quite a substantial amount for those days, varying from sixty to one hundred and twenty acres. It seems to have been originally fixed as the amount of land necessary to support one extended family, as the Olde English word for a household, "higan", would seem to suggest a common etymology with "hi(gi)d". The name may also be a variant of the personal feminine name "Ida", with the inorganic "h" usually added to names beginning with a vowel. Avice atte Hyde was recorded in 1296 in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Interesting namebearers include Edward Hyde (1609 - 1674), first earl of Clarendon, who was a supporter of Charles 1 and became secretary of state, lord chancellor and chief advisor to Charles 11 at the Restoration. Edward Hyde, Esq. popularly known as Lord Cornbury, was appointed Captain General and Governor-in-Chief of New York in 1701. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de la Hyda, which was dated 1188, in the "Pipe Rolls of Dorset", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.