This unusual surname recorded in the spellings of Davenport and Devenport, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from 'Davenport' in Cheshire. Curiously 'Devonport' in Devon, does not seem to have produced surnames. Recorded as "Deneport" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Devennport" in the 1130 charters of the Abbey of Durham, the place is so called from situation on the river Dane. The river name is an ancient British (pre-Roman) one, "Dauen" or "Daan", related to the Middle Welsh dafn", meaning "a trickling stream". The second element "port" derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century word for a harbour or wharf. This is ultimately from the Latin "portus", of the same meaning. Locational surnames were originally given to the lord of the manor, or as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Ormus de Davenport in the Cheshire rolls of 1166, and Richard de Daveneport in the Staffordshire charters of 1203. In 1555, one John Davenport, of Henbury, was noted in the Wills Records at Cheshire. A family of the name whose seat is still Capesthorne Hall, near Macclesfield, claim descent from Vivian de Davenport (deceased circa 1257). A Coat of Arms granted to the Davenport family of Davenport, descended from Ormus de Davenport (above), is a silver shield with a chevron between three black crosses crosslet fitchee, the Crest being a man's head, couped at the shoulders and side head proper with a golden rope around the neck. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Deveneport, which was dated 1162, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cheshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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