This interesting and unusual name is the patronymic (son of) form of "Pank", which is a shortened version of the medieval given name "Pancras". The derivation from the latin "Pancratius", the Greek "Pankratios" "Pan", all, plus "Kratein", to conquer or subdue, re-analyzed by early Christians as meaning "Almighty". The name was fairly popular in England during the Middle Ages, for in the 7th Century the relics of an early martyr of this name had been sent to England by the Pope. Amongst the sample recordings from London is one Mary Panks, the infant daughter of Henry and Joane Panks who was christened on November 4th 1654 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Pauke (christening), which was dated August 7th 1566, St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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