This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational surname for 'the vicar's man', the servant of the vicar. The name is derived from the Middle English term 'vicare, vicaire' or 'vikere', from the Old French 'vicaire', itself derived from the Latin word 'vicarius', substitute, deputy, with 'man', man, often, servant. The term 'vicar' was used in medieval England for a parish priest, although the original meaning was for the man who carried out pastoral duties on the behalf of the absentee holder of a benefice.In practice, most benefice-holders were absentees, so the 'vicar' was gradually described as the parish priest. There were similar occupational surnames created in the Middle Ages, such as Robert Prestman (1275), Richard le Wycarisman (1275, Cambridgeshire), Isabella Vikerwoman (1379, Yorkshire) and Adam Parsonman (1379, ibid.). The name is found frequently in Yorkshire. Martin Vickerman and Dorithie Norram were married at North Burton in Yorkshire on November 9th 1676. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Vikarman, which was dated 1379, The Yorkshire Poll Tax Return, during the reign of King Richard 11, 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377-1399. 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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