Recorded in many forms including Backhouse, Bakehouse, Backhus, Baccus and the seemingly dialectals Bakhust, Backhust and Backhurst, this long-established surname is of English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It was an occupational name for someone employed at a bakery, deriving from the pre 7th Century word "baechus", from bacan, to bake, and "hus", a house or place of work, which was usually the same thing. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary.Early examples of the name recordings include: Edmund atte Bakhus in the London Writs of Parliament, dated 1307; William atte Bakehous of Somerset, in 1327; Richard del Bakhous of Lancashire in 1332; Thomas Bachous of Essex, in 1334. In 1538, William Backhowse or Bacchus, there were various spellings was entered in the Oxford University Register, whilst John, the son of Richard Backhurst was christened at St Olaves Southwark, on June 16th 1641. There is also a belief that some instances of the modern surname originated as a nickname for someone who drank excessive amounts of wine, from Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, but this is not proven. 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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