Recorded in several spellings including Swanwick, Swanick, Swannack, and Swannick, this is an English surname. It is locational and apparently has nothing directly to do with the water bird known as the swan. It originates from the two villages called Swanwick, one in Hampshire and the other in Derbyshire. Both are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 in the spelling form of "Swanwyck". The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "swan", which in this context, translates as "tenant", with the suffix of "wic", meaning a dairy farm. Similar place name examples are Gatwick, meaning the goat farm, and Chiswick, the cheese farm. Habitational names, such as Swanwick, were usually given to a person after they left their original village, as an easy form of identification. The reasons for leaving were varied, however it is known that Derbyshire was badly effected by the Bubonic Plague of 1665, the modern surname became widely spread after that date. Examples of the surname recording include: Hugh Swanwick of Swanwick, and presumably the lord of the manor, in the Chester Wills Register for 1619, whilst in 1668, John Swanwick married Mary Winspeare at Canterbury, Kent. In 1711, Hannah Swannack married Thomas Parish at the church of St. Mary Aldermary, in the city of London. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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