Recorded as Necolds, Necrews, Nekrews, Nickoals, Nockles, Nockolds, Knuckles and others, this very interesting surname is of English and Welsh origins. It is derived from the famous Greek Nikolaos from 'nikan', to conquer, and 'laos', the people. It was probably introduced into the British Isles by returning early crusaders, more correctly known as the Knights Templar. The surname is late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include John Nichole in "Unpublished documents in the Essex Records Office" in 1170, and William Nicholas, in "A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, Berkshire" for the same period. The development of the variant spelling forms commenced in the early medieval period, these being a result of poor spelling allied with very strong local dialects. At first Nichols, Nockles and Necrews as examples may not seem to have much in common, but in fact to the untrained French speaking clerics of the period, they were seen and heard to be the same. Early recordings include Mary Knuckles, christened at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, London, on May 21st 1619, and Christian Necolds christened at St Brides Church, city of London, on April 24th 1660. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a blue shield, two ermine bars, in chief three gold suns, the crest being a silver demi lion out of a gold ducal coronet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waleram Nicholai. This was dated 1198, in the Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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