This interesting surname, with variant spellings Faulks, Fawlks, Fakes and Faulkes, derives from the Norman given name "Fau(l)ques", originally an Old Germanic byname, "Falco", meaning "Falcon". This name would have been given to someone thought to resemble a falcon, for example someone fierce or rapacious. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below). One, John Fakes appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex (1327) and Robert Faukes is noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex (1327). Recordings of the surname from the London Church Registers include: Elizabeth Fawkes who was christened on May 26th 1560, at St. Mary le Bow Church; Awdrey Fawkes who was christened on October 28th 1565 at the church of Harrow on the Hill; and Jane Fawkes who married William Smieth on April 29th 1614 at St. Mary le Strand Church. The most famous holder of the name was Guy Fawkes, a protestant who adopted Roman Catholicism, and was therefore held to be doubly guilty of the crime of (failing) to blow up the houses of Parliament in 1605. Guy Fawkes was born in York in 1570, where his house still stands, although now converted to a hotel near the Minster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Faukes, which was dated 1221, in the "Transcripts of Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses", 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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