This very interesting surname is of Olde English origins. In a sense it is occupational, but it can also be residential in that it describes not only one who lived by a church, but who was responsible for the upkeep of the premises. It has been suggested that it was originally a nickname for the church warden, and this is probably the case. The development is from the pre 7th century 'Cyriceman' which in this context translates as 'the servant of the church', but it is doubtful if the orginal 'Mr Churchman' saw himself as a servant, the position being highly sort and well remunerated. The name recordings are amongst the earliest of 'surnames', however it must be stressed that the name holders would not have recognised the term. To them to be called 'Churchman' would simply have described their occupation. Examples of the surname recordings from the earliest times include Ralph Chircheman in the 1259 registers of the Abbey of Ramsey in Huntingdon, Ouse Le Chercheman in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge for 1279, and John Churchman in the 1307 Pipe Rolls of Huntingdon, the name seemingly being particularly popular in the fen districts. The Coat of Arms of Churchman is a silver field charged with two black bars, and in chief two black pales. These arms would suggest a person of sincerity and conviction. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aelfrid Cerceman, which was dated 1095 a.d., the register of the Abbey of Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King William 11, known by the nickname of '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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