In so far as early recordings exist for this surname, they appear to be centred around the South-Eastern counties of England. The name is logically locational, and would appear to derive from a place whose original Olde English pre 7th century spelling could have been 'bec hyrst' or similar, meaning 'the stream in the wood'. However no such place seems to have been recorded in the gazetteers, and therefore it must be assumed that the surname now represents the only reminder of the existence of any such place. Some five thousand British surnames are known to have derived from 'lost' medieval villages, and probably 'Beckhurst' should be a further addition to the list. Locational surnames were usually given to people after they left their original home, the name providing an easy form of identification at a time when few could write and even fewer could spell. As a result, as in the case of 'Beckhurst' the suspicion must remain that this name is a variant of 'Buckhurst', a name recorded on September 7th 1591, when Thomas Buckhurst was recorded in London. Villages called Buckhurst exist in Berkshire, Sussex, and Essex, the counties where 'Beckhurst' is also recorded. Examples of 'Beckhurst' recordings taken from the church registers include Thomas Beckhurst at Kirdford, Sussex on June 30th 1751, and Thomas Beckhurst who married Mary Harding at Alton, Hampshire, on May 13th 1768. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Beckhurst, which was dated September 8th 1731, married Mary Basher, at Iping, Sussex, during the reign of King George 11, known as 'The last soldier king', 1727 - 1760. 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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