This unusual surname has an equally unusual past. It seems to have had an 18th century spelling of Wrankling, rapidly followed by Rankling and in the 19th century, Ranklin. However the origin is open to conjecture, as no such formation of a surname is to be found in any known British records. This implies that the name may have been foreign, but if so the only near possiblity is the German "Wrancke". This at best seems very unlikely, although German and Dutch engineers were employed in the English East Anglia and the Midlands during the 15th to 17th centuries to drain the fen country.It is known that many married and remained in England, and therefore it is (faintly) possible that this name originates from one of these engineers, if there was one called Wrancke. It is more likely that the name is a derivative of the popular Rankin. This long-established surname is a diminutive form of the pre 7th century given name "Rand" meaning shield, with the hypocoristic suffix "kin" (son of). Amongst the early examples are Reginald Ranekyn in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, and Ralph Rankin in the 1301 Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire. In this case Henry Wrankling was recorded at Bedworth, Warwickshire, on September 3rd 1744, whilst Elizabeth Rankling married James Love at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on July 26th 1763, and John Ranklin was married at St Giles church, Camberwell, London, on August 18th 1833.. The first recorded spelling of the name may be that of Gilbert Reynkyn, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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