This unusual and interesting name has an uncertain origin, but is known to have been introduced into the British Isles by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, in the form of a personal name in Old French "Paien", from the Latin "pagamus", a derivative of "pagus", an outlying village. The name originally meant a "rustic", a "villager" as opposed to a soldier and later was used to mean a heathen, one who was not a member of the "army of Christ". "Pagan" and its variant forms "Pagin, Pagon and Pagen" were popular medieval given names, along with the more vernacular and now familiar "Payne, Pain and Paine", for instance. One Edmund, son of Pagen, is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. John Pagan appears in the Worcestershire Subsidy Rolls of 1275. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rotrous Pagani, which was dated 1195, in the "Leicestershire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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