This surname was an occupational name 'the vickerman' - the vicars servant. The name was derived from the Old English word VICARE, and was originally used to denote someone who carried out pastoral duties on behalf of the absentee holder of a benefice. It became a regular word for a parish priest because in practice most benefice-holders were absentees. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state, as is the case here. Early records of the name mention Richard le Wycarisman of Canterbury, County Kent in 1275. Edward Vickersone was documented in County Lancashire in the year 1285, and William Vikarman was of Yorkshire listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379 and Isabella Vikerwoman was also listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. In the South of England the name is found as Vicars-man. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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