Origins
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Three maps are available but be warned !!
The 1997 map image is 614Kb
The 1648 map image is 174Kb
Various Links to areas of interest in the Vale of Taunton and the Blackdown Hills ]
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View the 3 Bicknell Coats of Arms with descriptions.
Visit the Bicknell Genealogy Index and travel through our history

Bicknell genealogy in the making

Origins by Phyllis Bicknell Carroll - 1981, Thomas W Bicknell - 1913 & A Sidney Bicknell - 1912
And notes kindly passed on to me by Paul Bicknell.

The history of the family name.

The Bicknells are of Teutonic blood. Crossed the river Rhine and invaded France before the Christian era.

The original name was De Pavilly, a baronial family of a town called Pavilly (north of Rouen). The family manor was established in Normandy by Lord Amalbert de Pavilly in 664AD.

Some came to England with William the Conqueror as part of the Norman invasion of Britain. 

Our English home was Beacon Hill in Somerset County England.
It is an ancient Anglo-Saxon manor (known variously as Bykenhulle, Bichehalda [Evon Domesday??], Bichehalle).

Aluric, a Saxon was the first holder of the manor.

After 1066 William gave the manor to his 1/2 brother Robert (Earl of Cornwall) who passed it on to William del'Estra.

In 1260 William's daughter Johanne married Robert de Pavilly of Normandy, Bykenhulle came as a dower.

They were involved directly in much 12-13th century events - Reginald died in first crusade, Ralph witnessed a charter in the reign of Henry I, Henry III sent money to Thomas for travels, Reginald attend the king in council as baron in 1260, Richard and Sir John were priors of the Hospital of St John in Jerusalem in 1361, Sir Walter was one of the founders of the Knights of the Garter.

By 1281 John (son of Johanne and Robert) had changed his name to de Bykenhulle. Over the years 47 separate spellings have occurred as English evolved (e.g., Byhenhulle, Bikenoll, Bykenyll, Bickenhill, Bickernoll, Biconyll, Bycknell, Byconyll, Biknell,...). Bignall, Bignell, Bignold, and Bucknell are in no way related.

Pavilly-Bicknells were a powerful, wealthy, and influential family in the 14'th and 15'th centuries. A very close relationship existed with the Roman church.

As time passed the rapacious and capricious Henry VIII and harsh dogmatic Edward VI' confiscated, appropriated money and treasure of churches and monastery, and that 'gifts and donors were involved in one common doom', 'and henceforth the history of the Pavilly-Bicknells recedes into medieval twilight'

I have personally visited the area that was believed to have been the site of Bykenhulle, now marked on maps as Bickenhall. The present day inhabitants of the few farms around Bickenhall were unable to confirm the 'Beacon Hill' but again it can be assumed that it is now known as Staple Hill.

Thin Rule

The next records are far from complete and have been compiled from contributions from the following people Roberta Bicknell Piper, Laura Bicknell, my own visit to Barrington and Jim Robertson (A very kind genealogist from Austrailia who has been helping me with my research)

From the information gained on my Barrington Visit
Here is the Zachary who it appears was the original Bicknell American pilgrim.

He and Agnes along with their son John (aged 11), made a great decision in 1635, boarding a ship sailing from Plymouth harbour, from the exact spot that the Mayflower sailed in 1620, to Boston, Massachusetts, MA, USA on May 5, 1635. The family moved a few miles south to Wessaguscus (renamed Weymouth). Also on board were 25 families led by Rev. Joseph Hull.

Rich promoters promoted the emigration, many of them merchants hoping for rich returns on their investments. Reasons for leaving not religious. The Bicknell's were farmers and had a need for more land and estates.

The family also took their servant, John Kitchin, (then aged 23) in reality a friend of Zachary. This helped to lower the expenses of emigration. The Kitchin family did well. They settled in Salem MA, in 1640 and became freemen in 1643. A shoemaker by trade, he married and had seven children. One son named Robert who attended the noted Harvard College. One descendant was the Hon. William Kitchin. He became governor of the state of North Carolina. His brother a lawyer and a member of the House of Representatives in North Carolina.

The Bicknells also flourished. Temperate to middle class they all showed great pride and love of family life.

Zachary's Home
Meanwhile back in Barrington family became parted from their home and in the mid 18th Century. The house they left being formerly Bicknoll's is now called The Barn in Water Street. This is believed to be the birthplace of Zachary.
Photo taken during my visit in Sept 1996.

The photo on the right is of Derek and his son Liam taken in St Mary's Church, Barrington, Somerset, England. Sept 1996.Nicholas Bicknell's Grave Set in the floor is a black engraved slab that marks the resting place of Nicholas Bicknell who died in 1611. He was possibly Zachary's Uncle, although these family ties are as yet unconfirmed.

That is all I can offer at this early stage.
Can I please ask that if you know of any errors or can offer any additional information you e-mail me the details.

I hope this has stirred some interest.

If you are a Bicknell and haven't already done so, please e-mail me your family history as far back as you can go. With DOB/DOD, Birth place, Marriage detail and Offspring information. I'm adding all this data into a Family Tree Maker database and hope to link as many of us Bicknell's as possible.

 Thin Rule