This unusual surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, and it is a regional name for someone from the province of Gascony, written as "Gascogne" in Old French. The name of this region in South West France derives from that of the Basques who once occupied the area. First named in Roman sources as Vascones, they were displaced from most of Gascony by the Middle Ages and were replaced by speakers of Gascon (a dialect of French). The surname first appears on record in England in the early 13th Century (see below). Other early recordings include: Geoffrey Gascoyne (the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, dated 1273); Peter Gascoying (Devonshire, 1274) and William Gascoigne, witness in the 1389 Fine Court Rolls of Huntingdonshire. The surname has many variant spellings ranging from Gascoigne, Gascoin and Gasquoine to Gasken and Gasking. On August 25th 1622, Henry Gascoine married Marie Bellwere at the Church of St. Gregory by St. Paul, London, and Andrew Gascoine married Joane Dix on June 12th 1626 at St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield and on a black fess a gold lucy naiant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bernard Gascon, which was dated 1206, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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