Recorded in the spellings of Hinks, Hinkin, and Hinkins, this most interesting surname is English. Like the surname Hankin or Hankins, it probably derives from Johan, an early form of John. Johan was introduced into England either by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, or as a biblical name which was "borrowed" by returning Crusaders and other pilgrims, from the Holy Land in the 11th and 12th centuries. It is estimated that over one thousand modern day surnames do originate from Johan or John, and this seems to be the most likely explanation for this surname. In any form it is first recorded in the year 1273, when a Matilda Hincks appears in the Hundred Rolls of Oxford. However it is also possible that the name could originate from the word "henx", used to describe a henchman or even a horseman. An Act of Parliament passed in 1463 to restrain the public from "excess in apparel," makes an exception in favour of "Henxsmen, heroldes, and purceyvantes, as well as swerdeberers, maires, messagers and minstrelles", whilst in the privy purse expenses" of 1532 appears the report of " the same daye paied to the yoman of the henxman for their lodging at ii tymes at Westminster". Early recordings of the surname include: Thomas Hengysman, mentioned in 1460, in the Index of Wills proved in the Rochester Consistory Court; John Hengestman, recorded in 1473, in documents published by the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology; whilst Dorcas Hinckes, was a witness at the church of St James Clerkenwell, London, on February 25th 1577, and Joseph Hinkins is recorded at St Georges Chapel, Mayfair, on March 1st 1787. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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