Recorded as Banck, Bank, Banke, Banks, Bankes, and Banker, this is essentially an English surname, although recorded in other countries. It is topographical and derives from the pre 8th century Danish-Viking word "banke" meaning a ridge or hillside, and as a surname was originally to a person who lived on the slope of a hillside or by a riverbank. The final "-s" where it occurs as a suffix to a name preserves the Olde English genitive ending and means "of the bank", whilst the suffix "-er" suggests either one who worked at such a place or more likely who came from a bank of land. The surname is ancient and was first recorded towards the end of the 13th century (see below). Other early examples taken from surviving rolls and charters of the medieval period include Matthew Banke in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk, dated 1327, Alse, the daughter of John Bankes, was christened at St. Antholin's church, Budge Row, in the city of London on June 15th 1546, whilst John Banks of Devon was entered in the students register of Oxford University in the year 1597. The famous "dancing horse", Morocco, to which allusion is made by all the best authors of the day, was owned by the Scottish showman, Banks, who flourished 1588 - 1637. Sir Edward Banks (1769 - 1835), who was knighted in 1822, built the famous Waterloo, Southwark, and London Bridges. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter del Banck. This was dated 1297, in the Tax Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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