This very interesting surname, is of English and Welsh origins. It is derived from the famous 'Nichols' itself originating from the Greek 'Nikolaos', a form of 'nikan', meaning 'to conquer', plus 'laos', - 'the people'. As a personal name it is found in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as such was probably introduced by the Normans or the early crusaders, which was much the same thing. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include John Nichole (circa 1270), in "Unpublished documents in the Essex Records Office", Chelmsford, and William Nicholas, in "A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds, Berkshire". The development of the variant forms commenced almost at once, these being a result of poor spelling allied with very strong local dialects. At first Nichols and Nockles may not seem to have much in common, but in fact to the untrained clerical ear, they were seen and heard to be the same. Nockels itself appears in many forms, and some of these appear in the following examples. Mary Knuckles, who was christened at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, London, on May 21st 1619, Christian Necolds at St Brides Church, London, on April 24th 1660, John Nockles who married Elizabeth Horne by civil license in London on November 11th 1666, and Christopher Nockells christened at St Andrews by the Tower, London, on January 31st 1695. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name has the blazon of a blue shield, two ermine bars, in chief three gold suns, the Crest being out of a gold ducal coronet, a silver demi lion rampant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waleram Nicholai, which was dated 1198, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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