The early recordings of this surname, recorded as Behague, Behagge, Behag and Behagg, are from Whittlesey, in Cambridgeshire, and are denoted as "French Huguenot." We have no argument with this statement, except that Flanders and Brabant in "The Netherlands" is strictly more accurate, the Coat of Arms being granted to nameholders from these regions. The name is locational and describes a former inhabitant of "The Hague" or one who lived by a hedgerow! In the mid 17th century many Dutch-Flanders engineers, who were skilled in draining the flat lands of Northern Europe, were brought to England particulary by Charles 1, to drain the fenlands. It is possible that the first name holder, was one of them, as well as being Huguenot. The surname is in fact recorded earlier in England than in the church records of the continent, Flanders in particular was continually in a state of war from circa 1450 to 1815, and has seen more than its fair share of action in the present century. War is not good for records and record keeping. Although Whittlesey was the place of the earliest recordings, Doddington from September 27th 1682, when John Behagge was christened there, was the epicentre. Examples of the recordings include Sara Behague, daughter of Peirre (below), christened at St Mary's Church, Whittlesey, on May 29th 1659, and of her wedding on March 25th 1679, when she married Thomas Speechlye at the same church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Pierre Behague, which was dated June 10th 1655, when with his wife Susanne (nee Du Bois?) he was a witness at the christening of his daughter, Sara, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell, known as "The Lord Protector'" 1649 - 1658. 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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