This long-established surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from the parish of Stanwix on the north side of Carlisle, Cumberland. Recorded as "Steynweuga" in Early Yorkshire Charters, dated circa 1160, and as "Stainwegges" in the 1197 Pipe Rolls of Cumberland, the place was so called from the Old Norse "stein-veggr", "stone wall", or "stone building". Stanwix is situated on Hadrian's Wall, a fortified stone structure across northern England, extending from the Solway Firth in the west to the mouth of the River Tyne in the east. It was built in 120 - 123 A.D. on the orders of the emperor Hadrian as a defence against the north British tribes. A family of the name have resided in Carlisle since the early 14th Century, and were granted a Coat of Arms in the reign of Edward 111 (1327 - 1377). The Arms depict a fess dancettee between three gold crosses botonnee fitchee on an azure shield. On March 18th 1582, Barbary, son of William Stanwix, was christened at Newton Reigny, Cumberland. Notable bearers of the name, mentioned in the "Dictionary of National Biography", are Richard Stanwix (1608 - 1656), Chaplain to lord keepers Coventry and Finch, and John Stanwix (1690 - 1766), M.P., Carlisle, 1752, who built Fort Stanwix in 1758, and became lieutenant-general in 1761. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugh Skot de Staynwikes, which was dated 1325, in the "Register of the Freemen of the City of York", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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