The Higson Family
Origins of the name
According to Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges Dictionary of Surnames the name Hick is English and from the medieval given name Hicke, a pet form of Richard.
The substitution of H as the initial resulted from the inability of the English to cope with the velar Norman R, as in Hobb, Hodge and Hann.
Patronymics are Hickson, Hickeson, Hixon and particularly in Lancashire, Higson.
Richard was in use amongst the Normans of Germanic origin.
The distribution map below verifies that the Higson variation in particular is commonest in the north of England and particularly in Lancashire.
HIGSON in Britain from the 1881 Census
Although Higson is the most popular spelling in Lancashire, in times gone by various spellings have been used. On the IGI for Lancashire, there are no fewer than 40 variations although by 1881 there are only 5 spellings used in the census; Higson of which there are 1568, Hickson 438, Hixon 18, Hinxon 3 and Hixson 1.
A closer look at Lancashire shows that the name is concentrated in the Southern part of the county.
The highest occurance being in Rumworth, in the parish of Deane
A distribution map for the baptism entries on the I.G.I would show a similar pattern, i.e. the highest number of entries are for the parish of Deane.
From studying the first 200 years of burials in Deane parish registers (from 1604 to 1812) it can be seen that just over a half of the Higsons were from Middle Hulton, (approx. 51% from M.H., 18% from other parts of Deane and 30% from other parishes. The last figure being largely in the later years as the familys spread out into other towns and villages). The figures for the 1st 100 years are even more startling, with approximately 82% being from Middle Hulton.
It might be a flight of fancy but I like to think that the first man who was given the surname of Higson lived and worked on one of the 40 or so small farms, including Higson Fold, which made up the township of Middle Hulton.
© 2001 E Hart