This unusual surname, widely recorded in the north of England, is an interesting example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These nicknames were originally given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and mental and moral characteristics. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Old Norse byname "Skegg", "Beard", denoting someone with a particularly bushy beard, or perhaps one who wore a beard in a time when the majority were clean-shaven. This personal name is also found in the placename Skegby, Nottinghamshire, recorded as "Schegebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in Skegness, Lincolnshire, appearing as "Skegenes" in the 1256 Pipe Rolls of that county. The surname first appears on record in the late 14th Century (see below). The final "s" attached to the name indicates the patronymic, and is a reduced form of "son of". On June 21st 1574, Anne Skeggs and Richard Atkins were married at St. Dunstan's in the East, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Skeges family of Huntingdonshire in 1568 is a shield divided per fess gold and azure with a chevron counterchanged, and an azure lion passant guardant in chief. A demi peacock azure, wings expanded or, beaked and combed gold, is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Skegge, "laborer", which was dated 1376, in the "Poll Tax Returns Records of Howdenshire", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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