Recorded as Back, Backe, Backes, Backs, Bax and Backman, this is an English surname, but one of some complexity. It may be occupational and describe a maker of pies and sweetmeats. If so the derivation is from the pre 7th century Olde English word "baec" meaning to bake, and this certainly applies to Walter Bakman, in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in 1279. However it is also possible that it derives from the popular Olde English male personal name "Bacca". Here the name does mean back or sometimes chin, and was probably originally a nickname for a person with a strong back or a prominent chin, or even somebody who was regarded as a hard worker. The personal name was still in use as late as the 12th century, when one "Bacce" was recorded in the calendar of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, in the county of Suffolk, in 1189 a.d. The earliest example of what seem to be a surname recording was even earlier, with Godwine Bacce being recorded in the lists for the county of Somerset as early as 1055. This was during the reign of King Edward, known as "The Confessor", 1042 - 1066. It is doubtful though that this was a hereditary recording, as in general these were not found except amongst the nobility much before the year 1200. Other early examples of surname recordings include Richard Backe of Ely in Suffolk in 1277, whilst much later Henry Bax married Rebecca Bowdell at St. James church, Duke's Place, Westminster on June 26th 1679. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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