This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has a number of possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be a locational name from Clinch or Clench in Wiltshire, which derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century "clenc", lump, hill. The same term seems also to have been used of a patch of dry raised ground in fenland surroundings, and the surname may be of topographical origin, from this sense. In some cases, the surname derives from a derivative of the Middle English "clench(en)", from the Olde English "clencian", to fix firmly, and would have been an occupational name for a maker or fixer of bolts and rivets. John de la Clenche is noted in the 1275 Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire, and Robert Clench is listed in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. The surname can be found as Clinch and Clench. On October 9th 1586, Walter, son of Walter Clench, was christened at the Church of St. Thomas the Apostle, London, and Rebecca, daughter of Thomas Clinch, was christened on March 28th 1608, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, also in London. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts a silver lion rampant on a gold shield, the Crest being on a hand couped in fesse and gauntleted, an eagle rising proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Clinche, which was dated 1223, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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