Recorded as Blenkinsop, Blenkinsopp, and Blenkinship, this is an English surname. It is locational from Blenkinsopp, a village in the county of Northumberland. The meaning is obscure, although it is thought to mean Blenkyn's hill, from an early personal name and "copp", a hill top. Locational surnames are nearly always "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village to move somewhere else. In so doing they took, or were given, as their surname the name of their original village. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead to the creation of "sounds like" spellings. This surname however has largely retained its original spelling, perhaps because it was so unique in its form. The early recordings taken from surviving church registers include Thomas Blenkinsop, christened at the church of St. John's Deansgate, Manchester, on June 16th 1700, and Thomas Blenkinship who married Isabella Ostel at Manchester Cathedral on December 6th 1873. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Blenkinsopp. He is given as being a Freeman of the city of York, in 1553, during the reign of Queen Mary 1st, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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