This unusual name is a variant of the medieval given name "Vivian", which has formed the basis for a surprisingly wide variety of modern surnames, including Videan, Vidgen, Vidgeon, Fiddian, Fidgeon and Phythian. The root source for Vivian is the Latin "vivianus", a derivative of "vivus", meaning "alive, living". It was the name of a 5th Century saint, bishop of Saintes, and was popular among the Normans who then introduced it into England. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). One, William Phythien, appears in the Cartulary of Ramsey Abbey, Cambridgeshire (circa 1250) and John Fiuian is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire (1279). On November 28th 1689, Mary, daughter of David and Elizabeth Phythian, was christened at St. Andrew, Holborn, London. Peter Phythyan married Jane Green on February 3rd 1696, at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster and their daughter, Angel was christened in the same place on June 19th 1698. The marriage of Thomas Phythian and Hannah Hodgson took place on January 1st 1725 at St. Bartholomew, Exchange, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Vivien, which was dated 1235, the Stone Cartulary, Staffordshire, 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 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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