The surname of NICKENS was a baptismal name 'the son of Nicholas' - meaning 'victory-people', this was a very popular medieval name, which was taken by settlers to Scotland. The earliest on record in Scotland appears to be Maucolum fiz Nicol, 1296. Gilbert Nicholai, was the vicar of Aufurde, in 1435, and John Nicholsoun was the burgess of Dumfries in 1544. The Nicolsons of Lasswade are an old family, knighted in the 17th century. Sir William Nicolson (died 1766) four times married was the father of twenty-three children. Early records of the name in England mention Nicolaus (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Nichol Gurdelere, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) in County Somerset. Alicia Nicholmayden was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Nicolls of County Middlesex, registered at Oxford University in the year 1575. James Nickleson and Anne Goodman were married in Canterbury, Kent in 1687. Robert Nicholls and Elizabeth Moye were married at St. Antholin, London in 1707. The name has many variant spellings which include NICHOLES, NICHOLL, NICHOLOSON, NICKALLS, NICCOL and NICOLSON. The name was popular among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, largely as a result of the fame of a 4th century Lycian bishop, about whom a large number of legends grew up, and who was venerated in the Orthodox Church as well as the Catholic. East European forms of this name are spelt with the initial M, as Mikulas in Poland. The name was sometimes borne by women in the Middle Ages. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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