This unusual and interesting surname, now almost exclusive to the Isle of Man, is of English locational origin from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place once situated in Lancashire. The component elements of the placename are believed to be either the Celtic-Gaelic "skellig", rock, and "cairn, carn", heap of stones, rocky mound, or the Old Norse "skali, scale", hut, shed (usually used in the plural), and "corn", corn;, hence, "huts where corn was stored". The prime cause of medieval village disappearances was the enforced clearing and dispersal of the former inhabitants from rural settlements to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade from the 14th Century onwards, as well as natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. The surname first appears on Isle of Man Records in the early 16th Century (see below), and takes the form "Skillicorne" in 1521. Recordings of the name from 16th Century Lancastrian Church Registers include the marriage of Margret Skillicorne to Edward Lasles at Kirkham, on January 31st 1539. The christening of Antho, son of William Skillicorn, took place at Badden the Isle of Man, on December 3rd 1626. A Coat of Arms granted to the Skillicorn(e) family is a black shield with a cross gobony gold and azure between four garbs (sheafs of grain) of the second. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ine Skylycorne, which was dated 1511, in "Records of the Isle of Man", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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