This very unusual and interesting name is of combined ancient Celtic and Old Norse origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Blencow near Penrith in Cumberland. The placename is recorded in the 1232 Pipe Rolls of the county as "Blenco", and in 1254 as "Blenkhaw", and the meaning of the name, although obscure, is thought to be "(place at) the hill top", derived from the Old Welsh "blaen", top, with the Old Norse "haugr", hill. The Welsh element is found in two other Cumberland placenames; Blencarn (cairn-top), and Blencogo (cuckoo-hill). The surname from this source has a variety of forms ranging from Blencowe, Blenko, Blinco(e), Blincko, and Blincow to Blancowe, Blankall and Blanko. Among the recordings of the name in Cumberland are those of the christening of John Blencow in Greystoke, on October 1st 1592, and the marriage of Peter Blencowe and Frances Crighton, at Dean, on July 6th 1741. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Blencow, which was dated 1332, The Cumberland Subsidy Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 111, "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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