The surname of BIGNELL was a locational name 'of Bickenhill' a parish in County Warwick, seven miles from Birmingham. There is also a place Bickenall in County Somerset. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land. The earliest known bearer of the surname is a certain John Bickonyll of Woolvington Manor, whose sons William and John became respectively Chancellor of Canterbury and MP for Shaftesbury in the mid 15th century. They are probably descended from John de Paveley, a nobleman of Norman descent who held Bickenhall in the 13th century, and was sometimes referred to as John de Bykenhull. The name was taken to America by Zachary Bicknell, who emigrated from Barrington, Somerset, to Weymouth, Massechussetts in 1635. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. Other records of the name mention William de Bigehull, 1273, County Oxford. William Bykenhulle of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Richard Bicknell and Elizabeth Baker were married at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1697.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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