This notable surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from the estate of Bigland in the parish of Cartmel, North Lancashire, which contains Bigland Hall, or from the hamlet of Biglands, north of Wigton in Cumberland. The latter place was recorded as "Bygland" in "Place Names of Cumberland", dated 1490, and derives from the Old Norse "bygg", barley, with the Old Norse "land", district, estate, landed property; hence, "land where barley was grown". The former place is believed to be named from the same elements. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On June 10th 1565, Elizabetha, daughter of Johannis Bigland, was christened at Allerton Mauleverer, Yorkshire; and on May 28th 1620, the marriage of Richard Bigland to Dionise Waight took place at Ware, Hertfordshire. An interesting namebearer was Ralph Bigland (1711 - 1784), Blue Mantle, College of Arms, 1757, Somerset, and registrar, 1763; Garter king-of-arms, 1780. A Coat of Arms granted to the Bigland family of Bigland Hall, Lancashire, depicts two gold ears of big-wheat on an azure shield, the Crest being a red lion passant reguardant holding in his forepaw an ear of big-wheat as in the arms. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margret Bigland, which was dated May 20th 1559, christened at Priory Church, Cartmel, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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