This rare and interesting name is of English origin and is either topographical for a 'dweller by the grove of reeds', or a locational name from a so called 'lost' place, thought to have once been situated in Somerset, owing to the prevalence of recordings in that county. The derivation is shared by both the locational and topographical explanations, and is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'beosuc', meaning a tuft of reeds and 'graf', a grove. The phenomenon of the 'lost' village was generally due to enforced land clearance in the 11th and 12th Centuries to make way for sheep pastures, as well as the more natural reasons such as the Black Death (of 1348) and war, and it is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such places that have disappeared from British maps. Mary Bisgrove was christened on February 5th 1735, at Wedmore, Somerset. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alice Besgrove (marriage to Steven Betford), which was dated October 14th 1560, Long Sutton, Somerset, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, '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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