Recorded in several forms including Kirkman, Kirckman, Kyrkeman and the dialectals Kerman, Kirman, Kermon, Kermond, and possibly others, his unusual and interesting name is of Northern English and sometimes Scottish origin. It can be either a topographical or an occupational surname. As a topographical name, it originally described someone who lived near a church, and as an occupational name, described someone employed in a church, or the custodian or guardian of the church. The surname derives from the pre 7th century Olde Norse 'kirkja' and the Old English 'cyrice', both meaning church and 'man', which in this context means someone who 'managed'. The southern English surname Churchman is an equivalent formation. Early examples of recordings include Charles Kyrckham in the Register of the University of Oxford for 1597, the marriage of Richard Kirkman and Agnes Cowburne at Fewston, Yorkshire, on May 16th 1622, and in the same year that of Marke Kerman and his wife Elizabeth, who were christening witnesses at St Andrews Holborn, in the city of London, on November 10th 1622. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Kirkeman. This was dated 1230, in the "Yorkshire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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