This very English name is an early medieval patronymic form of the name Tomkin, itself a diminutive of Thomas, from the popular male given name of biblical origin. Thomas derives from an Aramaic byname meaning "twin", and was the name borne by one of Christ's disciples, best known for his scepticism. Before the Norman Conquest of 1066, Thomas was found only as the name of a priest, but it quickly became one of the most popular male personal names in England, generating a great variety of surnames. The name Tomkin (little Tom) was first recorded in 1323, in the Eynesham Cartulary (Oxford) as "Thomekyn", while one William Tumkyns appeared in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire in 1327. The patronymic form of the surname first appears in records in the late 14th Century (see below). One Thomas Tomkinson (1631 - 1710), was fined and excommunicated for recusancy (refusal to recognise the king's supremacy) in 1662. The Coat of Arms on the monument of William Tomkinson (1770) in Davenham Church, Cheshire, depicts a cross patoncee between four black martlets on a blue shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Tomkynson, which was dated 1393, in documents published in the "Transactions of the William Salt Archaeological Society", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1378 - 1400. 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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