Ch1 Historical
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    Thomas Williams Bicknell's 1913 genealogy Book Chapter I

    HISTORICAL

                 PAVELY -BICKNELL
                   CONCERNING THE BICKNELL NAME

       About eight miles southeast from the city of Taunton, Somer-
    setshire, England, and five miles northwest from Ilminster, is a
    projecting hill, sombre, forest-clad, conspicuous from Taunton.
    This hill, rising 820 feet above the sea, is popularly known as
    Beacon Hill, and the country it seems to guard is the ancient
    Anglo Saxon manor af Bykenhulle.  The Exon Domesday calls
    the place Bichehalda, and the great-Exchequer one says:
    "William holds of the Earl, Bichehalle; Aluric held it in the time
    of King Edward"  ( 1004-1006}.  These words, Bichehalle and
    Bichehalda are corruptions by Norman scribes, of the Saxon
    name of the manor, and the hill which marks it, Bykenhulle.
    The derivation is clear : Anglo Saxon Bycn or Bykene, a beacon
    and Hulle or Hyll, a hill.

       The manor of Bykenhulle included about 1,500 acres of land
    with its manorial buildings, having the hill, which gave it its
    name, as the high point, from which signal fires, flags or other
    devices carried news to watchers of other beacons in other parts
    of England.

      Aluric, a Saxon, was the first holder of the manor, of whom
    we have record.  On the accession of  William, the Conqueror,
    in 1066, the King gave to his half brother, Robert, Earl of Corn-
    wall, seven hundred and ninety-seven manorial estates,  forty-
    nine of which were in Dorset and Somerset Counties, Byken-
    hulle manor being one.  Robert accepted the tenure of William
    de l'Estra, whose heirs came into possession of the manor by
    forfeiture and legally holding the lands directly from the King,
    till about the year 1260, A. D., when Johanne, daughter of
    William de l’Estra, married Robert de Pavilly, of Normandy (Eng-
    lish, Paveley), bringing the estate of Bykenhulle to him as he
    dower.

       The Paveleys were a baronial family of Pavilly, a town twelve
    miles northwest from Rouen, in France, where the Lord Amal-
    bert de Pavilly had founded a monastery in 664, A. D.  Some of
    the family crossed over from France with the Conquerer and
    soon became a powerful race in England, established in at least
    twelve counties.  Reginald de Pavely joined in the first crusade
    and fell in battle at Acre, 1104; we find Ralph de Pavely, witness-
    ing a charter of William, Earl of Surrey, in the reign of Henry
    I.; and Henry III, in 1241, sent money to Thomas de Pavely for
    his journey to join him at Anjou.  Another Reginald de Pavely
    was summoned as baron in 1260, to attend the King in Council;
    John de Pavely was rector of Hooke, near Beaminster, in 1312;
    Richard de Paveley and Sir John, who died 1361, were priors
    of the Hospital of St, John of Jerusalem; lastly Sir Walter de
    Paveley was one of the founders of the Knights of the Garter,
    the highest order of Knighthood in Great Britain.

       In 1281, John, son of Robert and Johanne (de l’Estra) de
    Paveley, died, seized of the manor of Bykenhulle, his heir being
    his son John.  Prior to his death he had exchanged his French
    baronial name, Paveley, for the name of  the manor, and was
    known as John de Bykenhulle.  In feudal times such changes of
    names were common and as the Paveley family had come to Eng-
    land to make a permanent home it was in accord with usual
    custom for a member to adopt the name of the castle or manor
    where he lived, or any other which flattered his fancy or ambition.
    In this instance John de Paveley chose to give up the surname, de
    Paveley and became John de Bykenhulle, our first ancestor of
    thc Bicknell name.  It was a Norman fashion, for two or three
    generations after the Conquest (1066), to distinguish themselves
    by the title of the lands they held in fief- "dc Bykenhulle," but by
    the fourth generation they had dropped the French designation,
    "de." The date when the descendants of Robert de Paveley and
    his wife Johanne de 1'Estra became Bicknells was about 1260
    A. D.  Before that date, Bykenhulle or Bicknell was a place name
    only, in England.  After that it became a family name from
    which our family received its surname, Bicknell.  The changes in
    spelling from 1260 A. D., to the present time are shown in the
    following table :
     

      PLACE CALLED.                                    SURNAME OF OWNER.
      Bykenhulle, 1260, A. D.  John de Paveley, about 1260
      Bykenhull, 1297.         John de Bykenhulle, 1275
      Bikenhulle, 1316.        John de Bykenhulle, 1302.
      Bikenoll, 1368.          Bickernoll, 1351
      Bykenyll, 1411.          Bykenell, 1425
      Bikenhill, 1443.         Biconyll, 1443
      ByConyll, 1475.          Byconyll, 1451.
      Biknell, 1523.           Biknell, 1523.
      Bycknell, 1547.          Bycknell, 1544.
      Bicknell, 1597.          Bicknell, 1585.
      Bickenhill, 1912.        Bicknell, 1912.

       There are at least forty-seven different spellings of Bicknell
    as stated by Mr. A. Sidney Bicknell, of London, England, who
    spent many years of his life in studies and researches of the
    Bicknell family.  We are indebted to him for our exact knowledge
    of the origin of the family name, and reference is made to an
    able and scholarly address of Mr. Bicknell, on "A Forgotten
    Chancellor and Canon," read by him before the Somersetshire
    Archaeological and  Natural  History  Society,  1894,  and pub-
    lished in the proceedings of that Society, that year, New Series,
    Vol. XX.  It may be stated that ail forms of Bignall, Bignell, Big-
    nold and Bucknell, are in no way connected with Bicknell, and
    all spellings are corruptions that do not appear as B-i-c-k-n-e-l-l.

       The above well established facts set at rest the race origin
    and name of our family.  The Bicknells are of Teutonic blood.
    They crossed the Rhine, invading France before the Christian
    era. The advance guard occupied Normandy and were known
    as Normans or Northmen.  The  Pavilly  family, of  Norman
    blood, founded the town of that name and established its baronial
    character by founding a monastery through the wealth and in-
    fluence of Lord Amalbert de Pavilly.  On the conquest of Eng-
    land in 1066, William the Conqueror, being a Norman, distrib-
    uted the manorial estates of England to Normans of high rank,
    or to those who had rendered valuable military service.  The mar-
    riage of the Paveleys with the l’Estras gave a pure Norman blood
    to the original John de (Paveley) Bykenhulle. To what extent the
    Norman blood of the Paveley-Bicknells was changed from 1300
    to 1600, we cannot state, but it is probable that Anglo Saxon
    and other strains had entered the vital stream in the veins of
    Zachary and John Bicknell, who settled at Weymouth, Mass.,
    in 1635.

       We have thus blazed the way for the future genealogist and
    historian of  the family, from Lord Amalbert de Pavilly, of
    Pavilly, France, 664. A. D., to Zachary Bicknell, 1590, a period
    of 926 years.  To him I assign the privilege of setting up the
    guide posts of the generations that lie between.