This ancient and distinguished surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and may belong to any of three distinct surname categories. Firstly, Hawke may derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century male given "H(e)afoc", Hawk, originally a byname denoting a fierce, rapacious person, or one with a large hooked nose. "Hauok" (without surname) was recorded in the 1066 Winton Book of Hampshire, and an Osbertus filius (son of) Hauoc was noted in the 1115 Old English Byname Register of Oxfordshire. The second possibility is that Hawke is a metonymic occupational name for someone who bred and trained hawks, from the Middle English "hau(l)k, haueke" (Olde English "heafoc"). Hawking was a major medieval sport, and the provision and training of hawks for a feudal lord was a not uncommon obligation in lieu of rent. One Robert Hauk was recorded in the 1269 Assize Rolls of Northumberland, and in 1379, an Adam Hawke appears in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Finally, Hawke may be a topographical name from residence by a nook or crag, from the Middle English "halke" (Olde English "halh"), angle, corner, recess, as in William del Halk (Suffolk, 1188). Edward Hawke (1705 - 1781) became admiral of the fleet in 1768 following a distinguished naval career, and was created Baron Hawke of Great Britain in 1776. The Hawke Coat of Arms is a silver shield with a chevron erminois between three purple pilgrims' staves. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Hauoc, which was dated 1130, in the "Pipe Rolls of London", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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