Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is an English locational surname. It originates from a place called Hockenhull in the parish of Tarvin, near Tarporley in Cheshire, first recorded in 1271 as Hokenhul, in the chartulary of the Abbey of St. Werburgh, Chester. The derivation is from the pre 7th Century personal name "Hocca", meaning hook, and used originally as a nickname for someone with a hooked nose, with "hyll", a hill. Locational surnames, such as this, were acquired either by the lord of the manor, and especially by former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace.Regional dialectal influences and varying standards of literacy subsequently gave rise to different forms of the original name. These range from Hackel, Hockell, Hockall, Hocknall, Hocknill, Hocknull, to Hockenhall, Hockenhull, Hockenill and Hockenell and others! Early recordings from the church registers include the marriage of Henrie Hocknell and Anne King, at St. John the Baptist, Chester, on February 12th 1576, and Martha Hockell who married George Tibble or Tipple, at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on October 17th 1771. A coat of arms asscoaied with the name has the blazon of a black ass's head, erased, on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hamo Hokenhull. This was dated 1534, in documents contained in Earwaker's "East Cheshire", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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