Recorded as Flaxman, Flexman, and Flaxmon, this is an English surname. It originates from the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon word 'fleax' meaning flax, and is occupational for a dresser, grower or weaver of flax. This was a very important industry in the Medieval period, and this is proven by the fact that the first known recording of the surname appears in the famous Hundred Rolls of 1273. These rolls included only people of wealth, usually landowners, and of sufficient moment to pay serious taxes. In this case we have William Flaxman or Flexman in the Hundred Roll of the county of Huntingdon, ansd that of Ralph le Flexman of Gloucestershire, in the year 1273. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created in the 12th century. However they usually only became hereditary if, and when, a son followed his father into the same line of business. Surprisingly perhaps many did not, in which case the name died out or sometimes the son would be known by both his occupation and that of his father. Later examples of the recordings include William Bancroft. He was given as being a flaxman in the Preston Guild Rolls of 1562, whilst Clousley Flaxman and his wife, the rather exotically named Annavick, were christening witnesses at St Michael's Cornhill, in the city of London, in 1706.
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