This most interesting and unusual name is one of the many English surnames originating from English placenames. Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere. This name derives from "Balcombe" in Sussex which appeared as "Balecumba" in 1121 in the Ancient Charters of Sussex. It is composed of the initial element "Baegloc" an old English personal name or "bealu", the old English word for "evil, calamity", plus the second old English element "cumb", meaning a deep hollow or valley. Hence perhaps the place was the site of some ancient British battle. The earliest recording of the name in London Church Registers is the christening of John, son of Stephen Balcom on December 21st 1565 at St. Botolph without Aldgate. One Thomas Bawcome married Anne Drewe at St. Andrew by the Wardrobe, London on April 9th 1624, while Henry Baulkombe was christened at East Grinstead, Sussex in 1640. The name is also found as Balliscombe, Bawcom, Bolcomb etc.. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Balcombe (marriage to John Bryan), which was dated February 14th 1559, at Balcombe in Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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