This surname was of the locational group of surnames, meaning 'of Bickerstaffe' a village near Ormskirk, County Lancashire. The name is found in early records as Bikerstat and Bikystath. The surname first appears as de Bikerstad in records of land grants at the end of the 12th century. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. Early records of the name mention Adam de Bykerstaff of County Lancashire, who was recorded in the year 1289, and Ralph Hey of Bickersteth, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1662. Hugh Bickerstaff was documented in the same Wills in 1600, and John Richards and Susanna Bickerstaff were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in the year 1752.
Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Kent and Lancashire.
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