This very unusual surname, recorded in Church Registers of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Buckinghamshire from the early 17th Century under a wide variety of spellings, is ultimately believed to be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place once situated in south central England. The component elements of the placename are most likely the Olde English pre 7th Century "becen", of beeches, from "bece", beech, or the Olde English "biccena", of bitches, with "hoh", projecting ridge of land, hill spur, crag, precipice.The prime cause of medieval village disappearances was the enforced clearing of rural settlements and the consequent dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade from the 14th Century on, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. On August 27th 1608, William Bicheno and Elizabeth Croxton were married at Over, Cambridgeshire, and on March 1st 1609, Robert Bichenhoe married Marie Carro at Hardmead, Buckinghamshire. Further spelling variations include: Beachino, Beetchenow, Bitcheno, Beechino(e) and Bachenough. On October 3rd 1762, the marriage of Susannah Beecheno to Samuel Gray took place at Elsworth, Cambridgeshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Tim Bechenoe, which was dated September 19th 1603, marriage to Joan Wiat, at All Saints, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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