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|Baigent, Begent, Bageant, Baigent, Bagent and Bagin are believed to
be from the same derivation. Jim Baigent has researched Baigent families
back to the English Civil War and can be contacted via the Contact
Form. He has writen the following Baigent overview.
A "Baigent" overview by Jim Baigent
The name Baigent is often thought to be Flemish in origin, but there is no positive evidence to support this. One suggestion is that "Bai" translates into "besides" and "gent" is the river Gent in Belgium. However there is no known evidence to support this, but it is possible the family were originally "Walloons" : protestants from the Low Countries who sought refuge in England from religious persecution. It is known that in the mid 16th century there was immigration from France and Flanders - the Walloon area of what is now mostly western Belgium. Baigents name variants appeared in south east England at this time and there was a concentration in Southampton. Perhaps these immigrants were there the origin of the Baigents in Hampshire.
The current spelling has been in general use for some 200 years. Previously, it was spelt several ways e.g Bagen, Begant, Begent, Baijent; but the earliest records are usually Bagin. Before Victorian times, when illiteracy was the norm, spellings were of course the subjective judgement of the scribe, and totally unreliable. The name Bagin is on record from the origin of church records and many examples can be found in the 1500s.
Historically, and to some extent today, the Baigent name appears in West Surrey and East Hampshire. Most families have rural roots. In the last 200 years the name has spread into London and down to the Southampton / Portsmouth area. There were concentrations of Baigents in Rotherwick, Haslemere, Horsell, Farnham, Portsea, I.O.W., and a significant number in Windlesham. In Windlesham the name is immortalised in "Baigent's lane", Baigent's bridge" and "Baigent's" farm. However to date no connection has been established between our family and the proliferation of Windlesham Baigents.
During emigration to the colonies in the last 150 years, Baigents have settled in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In Nelson, New Zealand, there is a large Baigent presence; all stemming from two brothers from Windlesham, who were involved with construction of several public buildings. There are numerous Baigents in Australia and 16 are listed in New South Wales alone ( including my son David Ian Baigent ). The name is also fairly widespread in Canada and the U.S.A. However to date, no direct connection has been found between our family and any Baigents overseas, with the exception of a family named "Branch" in South Africa, who are direct descendants of the author's great aunt Ellen Rhoda Baigent. Information is also emerging that two Baigent brothers who emigrated to New York around 1910, are direct descendants of William Baigent, born 1855, who is the author's great granduncle.
The current family of our Baigents all stem from Godalming, Surrey, with the previous generations coming from Chobham and Horsell, Surrey; and Rotherwick, Hampshire before that.
The Rotherwick Baigents go back to the civil war, when records are sparse: as there was clearly major disruption and relocation as people fled from the conflict.
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