This is a very interesting surname, of which it can be said it is definitely Huguenot, but also predates the usual Huguenot period (1580 - 1750). The origin is from the Ancient French "Clin" (habitational) or the German "Klein" (an endearment) which translate as "hillside" or "small" respectively. To these prefix's has been added the ending "ard" a personal diminutive to imply "Little Clin." In effect the two surnames overlapped in France and are indistinguishable. Not that it seems to have mattered in the early days, until religious fervour overcame common sense, at least one Coat of arms being granted to the Clinghart of Brittany, being a paly of three sun flowers, on a silver field.As shown below at least one family existed in England before the main rush of Huguenot immigration, but from the early 17th century almost all recordings centre on the twelve original French churches in London. Examples of the many recordings include Hester, the daughter of Lanncellott Clynkard christened at St Giles Cripplegate on August 10th 1593. Lancellott had earlier married Susanne Moorehowse at the same church on November 2nd 1592. On January 31st 1601, Henrie Clinkerd, the son of Nicholai and Annae Clinkerd was christened at the famous church of St Mildred Poultry, whilst on December 6th 1604, Abraham Clincart the son of Pierre and Marthe Clincart was christened at Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vincent Clinkart, which was dated December 20th 1562, christened at St Mary Whitechapel, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as " Good Queen Bess" 1558 - 1603. 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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