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Burgess Family HistoryThis interesting surname is of Old French origin, and derives from the Middle English "burge(i)s", a development of the Old French "burgeis" meaning inhabitant and freeman of a fortified town, especially one with municipal rights and duties. Burgesses generally had tenure of land or buildings from a landlord by "burgage". In medieval England burgage involved the payment of a fixed money rent. In Scotland it involved payment in service, guarding the town. The surname dates back to the early 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include Ralph le Burgeis (1195), in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, and Philip Burges (1220), in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxford...
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