Recorded as Bea, Beaze, Bee, Bees, and Beeze, this is an English medieval surname. It has at least four possible origins. It may be a short form of the French medieval female personal name Beatrice, or more likely for most nameholders it was job descriptiveand described a beekeeper. If so this was from the pre 6th century Olde English word "beo" meaning the bee. However it is also possible that for some name holders it could have been a nickname for a person who was considered to be a "busy bee" or a good worker, whilst for others it may have been locational from the small town of St Bees in Cumberland. This place name derives from the Latin and Gaelic Sancta Bega, who was a virgin saint from Ireland and believed to have formed her priory of St Bees in about the 7th century. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th century as Be, whilst the spelling as Bee is first recorded with that of Alice Bee, in the Poll Tax returns for Yorkshire in 1379, and John Bees, who maried Mary Howell at St Vedast church, Foster Lane, in the city of London, on June 1st 1585. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Robert Be. This was dated 1198, in Curia Regis tax rolls of Yorkshire during the reign of King Richard 1st of England (1189 - 1199), and known to history as "Lionheart". Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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