Recorded in several spellings including Cerman, Curman, Kerman, Kermon, Kirkman, Kirckman, Kirman, Kirmond, and probably others, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It can be either topographical or an occupational surname. As topographical it described someone who lived near a church or kirk, and as an occupational it was given to a person employed at a church and responsible for the adminstration of the church lands in a particular place. The derivation is from the pre 7th century Norse kirkja, or the English cyrice, with the suffix "-man". The southern English surname Churchman is an equivalent formation. Early examples of the surname recording taken at random from surviving rolls and registers include Charles Kyrckham in the register of students at the university of Oxford in 1597, Henry Kirmon of Kildwick in Yorkshire, on November 29th 1607, the marriage of Richard Kirkman and Agnes Cowburne at Fewston, Yorkshire, on May 16th 1622, and Robert Kirman who was christened at St Gregory's by St Paul's cathedral, city of London, on January 2nd 1628. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Kirkeman. This was dated 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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