This interesting surname is English. Recorded in several forms including Spink, Spinks, Spincke, Sphinx, and Spincks, it derives from the medieval word "spink" meaning a chaffinch. As such it was originally given as a nickname to one who was thought to have borne a fancied resemblance to the colourful if noisy bird, or more likely as a metronymic to a professional singer, one with an attractive singing voice. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 12th Century, (see below), making it one of the very first of all surnames to be recorded. An early example of the recordings is that of Thomas Spink, in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Northumberland in the year 1356. Surviving church register recordings from the diocese of Greater London include Lidia Spincks, who was christened on December 12th 1624 at the church of St. Katherine by the Tower (of London), William, the son of Michaell Spincks, who was christened on March 19th 1653, at St. John's church, Hackney, and Elizabeth, the daughter of John and Anne Spinks christened at St. Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London on April 26th 1657. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Spinc. This was dated 1133, in the Cartualry of Ramsey Abbey, Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 1st of England, and known as the Lion of Justice, 1100 - 1135. 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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