This most unusual name is of Dutch and Flemish origins, being one of the Anglicized forms of the surname Beijen(s), also found as Baijens, Baeijens and Beijensz(e). These are themselves variant forms of the surname "Baijer", which is a Dutch or Flemish regional name for someone from Bavaria, in German "Bayern"; the region so called in Southern Germany derives its name from the "Boii", a Celtic tribe who once inhabited this area as well as Bohemia. In the 6th Century A.D. they were displaced by a Germanic people who took the name "Boioarii" or "Bainoarii". The name was introduced into England either by Flemish weavers encouraged to emigrate by Edward 111 (1327 - 1377) to teach the English their craft, or by Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in the late 16th Century and mid 17th Century. There are a bewildering variety of Anglicized forms of the name, ranging from Ba(i)gent, Be(a)ge(a)nt, and Beggant to Be(a)jent, Bedgant, Bajant and Baygent. Examples from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Nicholas Beagent and Marye Boykett at Kingston, Kent, on May 11th 1577; the marriage of Anna Baeijens and Joannes Huijsmans at Kasterlee, Antwerp, in Belgium, on October 27th 1721; and the christening of William, son of William Baigent, on October 30th 1814, at St. Mary's, Lambeth, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Doen Beijensz, which was dated December 17th 1515, marriage to Aeskin (no surname given), at Poortugaal, South Holland, during the reign of Philibert de Chalons, Prince of Orange and Stadtholder, 1502 - 1530. 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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