This name is of northern English and Scottish locational origin from either of two places thus called in Northumberland, one near Kylow and the other near Stamfordham. There is also a place called Fenwick in the West Riding of Yorkshire and a village of Fenwick in the parish of the same name in Ayrshire, Scotland. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wic" translating variously as a "dwelling place" or "dairy farm" plus, the Olde English "fen" meaning a "fen or marsh". Hence, "the Wich by a fen". the surname is first recorded in Scotland, (see below). One, Thomas de Fenwyk appears in the 1279 "Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland", as a witness, Nicholas Fynwik was provost of Ayr in 1313. Sir John Fenwick or Fenwicke (1579 - 1658) was high sheriff of Northumberland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de (of) Ffenwic, charter witness. which was dated c.1220 in the records of the Abbey of Kelso. 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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