At the time of the Norman Conquest the area was held by one lord
Uctred of Roby and named Achetun, the name seems to indicate that
the area was originally a part of what is now Aughton, to the
In 1190 the place name is recorded as 'Bikerstad' and then in
1226 became 'Bikerstath'. The name is derived from from the Old
English 'beocere' meaning bee keeper and 'staeth' which may mean
an area where hives were kept.
During the Middle Ages people often took their village name as
a means of identification when travelling, for example Nash of
Bickerstaffe hence the wide dispersal of a surname name. Strong
local dialects and lack of education led to the various spellings
of the name
Over the years and before most people could spell or even write
many variations of the name were adopted including Bickerstaff,
Vickerstaff, Bickerstaffe and Vickerstaffe.
The spellings Vickerstaff, Vickarstaff (and with
an e appended) probably originated in the south of England, the
V replacing the B in the same way that V replaces F in Venn which
is the southern spelling of Fenn.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is Alan de Birkestad,
dated 1246, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire.
Surnames became a necessary when governments introduced personal
taxation. Throughout the centuries, surnames have continued to
develop often leading to surprising misspellings of the original
Back to menu