This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of three places in England thus called: Beckingham, a parish near Gainsborough in Nottinghamshire, entered as "Bechingeham" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Beckingham, a parish and village east of Newark in Lincolnshire, recorded as "Bekingeham" in the 1177 Pipe Rolls of that county; and Beckingham, a locality in the Maldon rural district of Essex. All these places have as their component elements the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Beocca" or "Beohha", from "beorht", bright, with "ing", people of, and "ham", village. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas Beckingham at Cold Norton, Essex, on February 29th 1548, and the marriage of Mary Beckingham to Richard Babbe at St. Mary Abchurch, London, in 1559. Charles Beckingham (1699 - 1731), a dramatist educated at Merchant Taylor's School, wrote plays which were produced at Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre. A Coat of Arms granted to the Beckingham family is a black shield with a fesse crenellee ermine between three silver escallop shells, the Crest being a black demi griffin holding in his dexter paw a silver cutlass, hilt and pomel gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elias de Beckingham, king's serjeant and justice of common pleas, which was dated 1274, in the "Dictionary of National Biography", 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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