This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic of Dawkin, itself a diminutive of Daw, a pet form of the male given name David. "David" is a Hebrew name meaning "beloved". The earliest known namebearer is the slayer of the giant Goliath, who became second King of Israel, traditionally also the author of the salms. In England David is not to be found before the Norman Conquest (1066). Its popularity was increased in Britain firstly by virtue of its being the name of the patron saint of Wales, and secondly because it was borne by two kings of Scotland.The diminutive form "Daukyn" is noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire (1332). The surname is first recorded in the mid 14th Century (see below) and can also be found as Dawkes and Daukes. On August 12th 1551, William, son of Richard Dawkins, was christened at St. Peter's, Westcheap, London, and Katheren Dawkins married Richard Feild on January 6th 1593, at Allhallows London Wall. A Coat of Arms granted to the Dawkins family is a red shield, with a gold lion passant guardant between two silver roses in pale and two gold flaunches, each charged with a black lion rampant, the Crest being a dexter arm couped at the shoulder, holding a battle-axe bendways proper, on the blade a red rose. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Daukyns, which was dated 1354, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "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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