Recorded in many forms as show below, this is an English surname. It was a status and occupational surname for a person who was in charge of the kitchen in a royal or noble house, or a monastery. This was a very important post in the ancient times, and ranked just below the Steward, Butler and Marshall, in the pecking order. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "cycene", from the Roman "cucina". Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the occupation of the namebearer, and they usually became hereditary when a son followed a father into the same line of business or profession. In this case the development of the surname includes Nicholas atte Kechene of Somerset in 1327; Robert der Kychin of Yorkshire in 1359; and Thomas Kytchyng also of Yorkshire in 1513. The modern spelling forms include Kitchen, Kitching, Ketchen, Kitchenes, Kitchenman, Kitchenham, and Kitchingman. A coat of arms granted to a nameholders depicts, on a white shield, a chevron between three bustards, all red. The crest is a green wivern on a gold ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry atte Kychene. This was dated 1311, in the "Parliamentary Writs", 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 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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