Recorded in the spellings of Wickman and Whickman, this is one of the oldest of occupational surnames. It derives from the pre 7th century Olde English 'wic' meaning a farm, plus 'man', which can mean friend, but when applied to an occupation describes a manager or foreman. There are many English towns and villages which have 'wic' as an integral part of the name, when of the best known being 'Gatwick', which has the very appropriate meaning of 'the goat farm', or Cheswick, the cheese farm. 'W(h)ickman', prior to becoming a surname in the 12th century, at the very beginning of such names, was previously used as a personal or given name. In the 1086 Domesday Book which registered all persons of any status other than slaves, included the recording of 'Ewicman' in the county of Norfolk for that year. This is some disagreement as to whether this name is also a short form of 'Eowu-wicman', meaning the shepherd responsible for the ewes, but this seems illogical, shepherds by their very job are responsible for all sheep. The early recordings include such examples as Herbertus filius Wycmanni, translating as 'Herbert, the son of Wickman, at Holme on Spalding Moor, East Yorkshire, in the year 1143, and Vxor Wichmanni, in the pipe rolls of Norfolk for the year 1170. Later recordings showing the surname development include Alan Wichman of Suffolk and Richard Wycman on Norfolk in the Hundred Rolls of those counties in 1275. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Wikeman, which was dated 1209, the pipe rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King John of England, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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