this long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an occupational name for someone employed at a bakery, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "baechus", bakehouse (from "bacan, to bake, and "hus", house). Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early examples of same include: Edmund atte Bakhus (London Writs of Parliament, dated 1307); William atte Bakehous (Somerset, 1327); Richard del Bakhous (Lancashire, 1332); and Thomas Bachous (Essex, 1334). In 1538, one William Backhowse or Bacchus, secular chaplain, was entered in the Oxford University Register. The subsequent confusion of Bakehous, Bachous and Bacchus led to the belief that some instances of the modern surname Backhouse or Bakehouse originated as a nickname for someone who drank excessive amounts of wine, from Bacchus, the Greek and Roman god of wine, whose cult and name are probably of Oriental origin. The manuscripts of William Backhouse, a Rosicrucian philosopher (1593 - 1662), was bequeathed to Oxford University. A Coat of Arms granted to the Backhouse family of Sunderland is a shield divided per saltire gold and azure with an ermine saltire, the Crest being an eagle vert, wings closed, preying on a snake proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Bakhous, which was dated 1306, in the "Calendar of Letter Books for London", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 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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