This English and Swiss surname of SKAGGS is of three-fold origin. It was a nickname for someone with shaggy hair or a beard; one who came from SKAGGS on the island of Gotland, Sweden. It was also a baptismal name 'the son of Skeg' a Scandinavian personal name that was brought to England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name is also spelt SKEGG, SKEGGS, SKAGG and SKAGGE. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. Early records of the name mention Thomas Skegge (laborer) who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll tax of 1379. Thomas Skeggs of Chelfield, County Kent, was baptised at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1714. John, son of James Skegg was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1715. Anthony Sprigmore and Sarah Skeggs were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1790. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The lion is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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