Recorded as Edwin, Edwine, Edwins, Edwinson, and possibly others, this is a truly ancient English name. It is derived from the pre 6th century personal name Edwine, and translates literally as "prosperity-friend' from the elements ead meaning prosperity or riches and wine - a friend. It is one of a group which were created in the period of history known as The Dark Ages, roughly between the fall of the Roman Empire in 412 a.d, and the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. At this time chaos reigned thoughout Europe and England itself was subjected to at least three major invasions. As a result names like Edwin were used as a kind of bapismal "hope" that a child would enjoy a peaceful and prosperous life. Unfortunately many of these names were lost after the coming of the Normans when it became politically correct to give children French names, and even worse during the Christian Revival of the12th century when Biblical and Hebrew swept the board. An interesting name bearer was Elizabeth Rebecca Edwin (1771 - 1854), the famous Georgian actress, who appeared on the stage for over thirty years. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Edwin. This was dated 1221 in the Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire, and during the reign of King Henry 111rd 1216 - 1272. 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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