This picturesque name is English but of French origins. It is locational from a village called Boscherville or Bacqueville in the arrondisment of Dieppe, Normandy. The name derives from the pre 10th century Old French 'boschet', meaning a copse or thicket, and 'ville', a settlement or town. The most usual surname spelling form in the 20th century is as Baskerville, a name forever associated with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his famous detective Sherlock Holmes. The Baskervilles are from Devonshire and it is claimed that they were given lands in the county by William, The Conqueror, after the Norman Conquest of 1066, in gratitude for their assistance in preparing the expedition. The surname is now recorded in several forms including Boskell, Bouskill and Baskwell and early examples of the recordings include Richard Buschell of Somerset in 1243, and James Baskervyle, who appears in the records of the Court of the Star Chamber, 1530. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Roger de Baschervilla, which was dated 1127, in the "Charters of the city of Gloucester". This was during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as 'The Lion of Justice', 1100-1135. 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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