Apparently derived from the Olde English 'sceanca' - a pre 10th Century nickname for a person with long or bandy legs. The spelling as Shankster, suggests a medieval metonymic, possibly for a tailor, one who made trousers. The development of the name is from Scealica to Scanches (11th Century), Schanke (12th Century), Schankes (13th Century) etc. Although unlikely, it is also possible that Shankster is a deraivation of the Scotish 'Sankester', found in the 15th Century, Aberdeen, again a deviration of the Olde English 'Sangestre' - a church singer. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lefuine Scanches. which was dated 1095, The Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds. during the reign of King William II, nickname -Rufus, 1087 - 1100. 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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