This picturesque name is of French origin and is locational from Boscherville in Eure, Normandy, deriving from the Old Northern French 'boschet', copse or thicket, and 'ville', a settlement or town. Baskerville and its variant spellings Baskwell, Baskerful, Baskerfield, Basketfield, Basterfield, Pasterfield and Pesterfield, was introduced by the Normans at the Conquest of 1066, and is now chiefly to be found in Devon. The following example illustrates the name development after 1127 (see below): James Baskervyle (Staffordshire Suits in the Court of Star Chamber, 1530). In Devon the marriage of Elizabeth Baskerville and Thomas Copplestone took place in 1623, at Exeter, and of Shadrach Baskerville and Elizabeth Beare on July 22nd 1753, at Ashwater. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Baschervilla, which was dated 1127, in the Ancient Charters of Gloucester, during the reign of King Henry 1, known as 'The Lion of Justice', 1100-1135. 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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