This interesting surname is of Old French origin, and derives from the Middle English "burge(i)s", a development of the Old French "burgeis" meaning inhabitant and freeman of a fortified town, especially one with municipal rights and duties. Burgesses generally had tenure of land or buildings from a landlord by "burgage". In medieval England burgage involved the payment of a fixed money rent. In Scotland it involved payment in service, guarding the town. The surname dates back to the early 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include Ralph le Burgeis (1195), in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, and Philip Burges (1220), in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxford. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Burges, Burgiss, Burgis, Burgise and Borges. London Church Registers record the marriages of Davye Burges to Agnes Taylor on January 27th 1582, at St. Thomas the Apostle, and Robert Parrin Burgess to Mary Langford on February 10th 1750, at St. Bartholomew the Great. A Coat of Arms granted to a Burgess family is blue, a fesse between a crescent in chief and a rose in base, all gold. The Crest is a gold fleur-de-lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Burgeis, which was dated 1115, in the "Winton Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, 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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