Recorded in the spelling forms of Ketchen, Kitchen, Kitchin, Kitching, Kitchingman etc, this is a medieval job descriptive English surname. It is occupational and describes a person who worked in a special 'kitchen', one belonging to a monastery or perhaps a noble house. The name implies a definite status equivalent to kitchen manager, or similar. The word derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cycene", itself a descendant of the Roman (Latin) "cucina", word introduced to Britain in the 1st century a.d. In medieval times, from the 12th century, the spelling developed to "kychene", not far from the modern surname. Early recordings of the surname taken from the ancient charters of the Middle Ages, include Nicholas atte Kechene in the 1327 assize rolls of Somerset, and Adam de Kitener and Willelmus Kychynman in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire. This latter surname was particularly prominent at the village of 'Colyngham' (now Collingham Bridge), near Wetherby. Later examples of the surname taken from the church registers introduced after the year 1535, include Ester Kitchingman, who married Willoughby West, at Canterbury, Kent, in 1661, and Lancelott Kitching, who married Sarah Loseby at St. James church, Duke's Place, London, on November 3rd 1681. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry atte Kychene, which was dated 1311, in the "Parliamentary Writs of the county of Suffolk", during the reign of Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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