This surname of BIGHAM was a locational name 'of Biggin' a township in the parish of Church Fenton, County York. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was derived from the Old English word BIGGING, and literally meant a dweller in an outbuilding. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. 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 from 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. The name is also spelt BIGGIN, BIGGINS, BIGGAM, BIGHAMS and BIGHOLM. Early records of the name mention Robertus de Byggyng, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. William Biggins appears in County Lancashire in the year 1400, and James Bigines was listed in the Lancashire Wills in the year 1593. A later instance of the name includes William Voce and Mary Biggans who were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1759. Prior to the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, no one had surnames, only christian or nicknames in England. Based on this, and our physical attributes, we were given surnames incorporating tax codes to show trades, areas in which we lived, as today we have street names and numbers. Surnames were used in France and like speaking countries from about the year 1000, and a few places had second names even earlier. Even early monarchs had additions to show attributes and character, for example Ethelred (red-hair) the Unready (never prepared). Edward I was named 'Long shanks' because of his long legs, and Richard III was called 'Crouchback' owing to his deformed shoulder.
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