This is a Yorkshire and Cheshire locational surname of great antiquity. It derives mainly from Yorkshire, although from the earliest times the Cheshire village situated near Malpas, has certainly provided a minority of nameholders. The village name is of Olde English pre 8th century origins, and translates from the original 'bycare tun' as the place of the beekeepers. It seems that at least one Yorkshire 'Bickerton' village has gone missing. This was believed to have been near the town of Otley, and it maybe that as a result most Yorkshire nameholders are paradoxically from this 'lost' site. Villages were cleared in late medieval times for a variety of reasons including civil war, plague, and changes in agricultural practice. When this happened the villagers left taking as their surnames that of their former village. The 1086 Domesday Book gives several spellings including Bicretone (Malpas), and Bicretone (Wetherby), the 'lost' Otley 'Bickerton' is recorded pre Domesday Book in 1030 as 'Biceratun'. Early recordings of the surname include Thomas de Bigerton of Yorkshire in 1273, and Johannes de Bykerton in the 1379 Poll Tax Rolls, also of Yorkshire. John Bycharton is recorded in the West Riding Rolls of 1533, whilst Edmund Bickerton is recorded in the 1617 Will lists of Cheshire. In 1592 Thomas Bickerton of Cheshire is recorded on the register of students at Oxford University. The coat of arms is ancient, and predates the formation of the College of Arms. Granted in 1330 to the Bicketons of Cheshire the blazon is silver, a black chevron charged with three black pheons. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes de Bikerton, which was dated circa 1270, the lists of the Freemen of the city of York, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as 'The Frenchman', 1216 - 1272. 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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