This most interesting surname is of Anglo-French origin, and is an occupational name for a professional champion, especially an agent employed to represent one of the parties in a trial by combat, a method of settling disputes in the Middle Ages. The name itself comes from the Old French "champiun", Old Norman French "campiun", and Anglo-Norman French "campion", champion. In this ordeal by battle, in criminal cases, the accuser and the accused took the field themselves, but in disputes over ownership of land, the actual parties were represented by "champions"; in theory, their free tenants, but in practice, hired men, professional champions who were very well paid. In 1294, the Dean and Chapter of Southwell paid 750, in modern money, in hiring a champion to dual in settling a law-suit about the advowson of a church. A "pugil" or champion was a regular member of the household of more than one medieval bishop; Thomas Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford (1275 - 1282), paid his champion, Thomas de Bruges, a salary of half a mark a year. In some instances the name may be of Old French locational origin, from Compiegne in Oise, Picardy. Herbert Campion was recorded in 1148, in the Book of Winton (Hampshire), and Pascoe Champion, aged 23 yrs., was one of the muster of Captain William Tucker in Virginia, having sailed there on the "Ellonor" in 1621. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicole de Campion, which was dated circa 1096, accompanied Robert 11, Duke of Normandy, on the first crusade (1096 - 1099), in "Crusade Records", 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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