This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for a vicar, one who carried out pastoral duties on behalf of the absentee holder of a benefice. The derivation is from the Anglo-French "vikere, vicare, vicaire", ultimately from the Latin "vicarius", substitute, deputy, one acting as parish priest in place of the parson or rector. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. A quotation from Chaucer's "Persones Prologue" reads, "Sire preest, quod he, art thou a Vicary? Or art thou a Person? Say soth by thy fay". The surname first appears on record in the mid 13th Century (see below). One William Vikery was noted in the 1319 Subsidy Rolls of London. In the modern idiom the name has seven spelling variations: Vicarey, Vicari, Vicary, Viccari, Viccary, Vickary and Vickery. A notable bearer of the name was Thomas Vicary, surgeon to Henry V111, 1528, and several times master of the Barber-Surgeons Company, London, from 1530, and governor of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 1548. A Coat of Arms granted to the Vicary family in 1558 is a black shield with two red cinquefoils on a silver chief, the Crest being a gold peacock close. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry le Vicarie, which was dated 1249, in "Middle English Occupational Terms", Sussex, 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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