This interesting name, with variant spellings Campion, Campione, Champion, Champain and Championnet, has two distinct possible origins, the first and most likely being an occupational name for a professional Champion, deriving from the Old Norman-French "campiun" or "campion" (Old French "champiun"), a champion or professional fighter employed to represent one of the parties to a suit in a trial by combat. (In an ordeal by battle the accuser and the accused took the field themselves). The surname is believed to have been introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Norman Invasion of 1066. Early recordings of the surname include: Herbert Campion (Hampshire, 1148); Geoffrey Champiun (Northamptonshire, 1154); Roger le Campion (Oxfordshire, 1197); and William le Champiun (Suffolk, 1220). The second possibility is that the name is locational from a place in Picardy (Northern France), called Compiegne. A family of the name in Witham, Essex, claim descent from the noble recorded below who accompanied Robert 11, Duke of Normandy, on the First Crusade. One member of this family was Edmund Campion (1540 - 1581), the Jesuit Martyr. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicole de Campion, which was dated 1096 - 1099, in "Records of the First Crusade", during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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