This very interesting surname is believed to be from the counties of Somerset and Devon. It derives from the phrase 'by god'(or similar) and as such was a nickname, presumably given either to one who used the expression, or perhaps one who was a godly person - or perhaps the opposite! What is certain is that the surname is ancient, the first recording as shown below being in the early 14th century. As the name moved away from its original home, it developed variant spellings including Bidgood and Bidegood. The name was well founded in Devon, the Bidgoods of Rockbeare being granted arms in 1690, for their support of King William 111, (William of Orange), after he landed his invasion forces close by at Brixham. The arms have the unique blazon of a silver field, with a blue chief charged with a gold tortoise. The tortoise is believed to mean that the family gave William sound and steady support at a critical time of the invasion, when the higher aristocracy hung back. Examples of the surname recording include Nicholas Bidgood, who married Elizabeth Dabbes at St Brides church, Fleet Street, London on September 1st 1594, Nicholas Bidgood, who was granted a licence to marry Alice Howe at Westminster in 1606, and Sarah Bidgood who definately married William Austin at Christ Church Greyfriars, London, On June 20th 1779. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Biggegode, which was dated 1273, recorded in Kirby's Rolls of the West Country, 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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