Recorded in a wide variety of forms including Agg, Agge, Aggs, Aggas, Aggass, Aggis, and Aggus, this unusual surname is English. It is either the vernacular form of the female personal name 'Agatha', meaning 'the learned one' , the original derivation being from the Greek 'agathos', or it is from the pre 7th century Danish-Viking 'Aggi', another personal name which itself may have derved from the Greek. The first known Agatha was martyred in the 3rd century, and her miraculous veil, now in the church of Catania, in Sicily, is believed to be a defence against the eruptions of Mount Etna. It is perhaps fitting that St. Agatha is the patron saint for protection from fire. The name was popular throughout Europe during the Middle Ages, and was probably introduced by Crusaders returning from the Holy Land. In those days it was usually found, as a personal name only, in spelling of the French 'Agace' or Italian 'Agacia'. What is certain is that it was an early recording, Simon filius Agge, or Simon the son of Agge, being recorded at Lincoln in the Pipe Rolls of 1195. Other recordings from later charters include Roger Agace, in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Worcester, and Thomas Agas of London in 1480. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Agge of Lincoln. This was dated 1275 in the Hundred Roll for Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist. He was known as 'The Hammer of the Scots' and reigned from 1272 to 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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