This surname, of Scottish, Irish or English origin, is either a topographical name for someone, who lived on a hilltop, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cnocc" (Gaelic "cnoc"), meaning "round-topped hill", or a locational name from one of the places called Knock in Scotland and Northern England. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. While locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Nicholas Knok in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire, and Thomas atte Knocke in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Knock, Knox, Knocker and Nock. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Katheryne Nockes and Arthur Lloide on May 25th 1576, at St. James' Clerkenwell; the christening of Joseph, son of Thomas and Angel Knock, on December 15th 1691, at St. Giles' Cripplegate; and the marriage of John Knock and Elizabeth Everard on June 18th 1645, at St. Mary's, Putney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de (of) Cnoc or Knoc, charter witness, which was dated 1260, in the "Records of Renfrewshire", Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1249 - 1286. 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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