There are many ways of spelling this essentially West Country, and specifically Devon, surname. These include Vinnicombe, Vinnicoombe, Vinicomb, Vinnecombe etc, but all have the same origins, they derive from a now "lost" medieval place which translates as "The marsh in the Valley". The derivation is from the Olde English "Fenn" which the Western dialect transposed into "Venn", two such places appearing in the gazetters at Kingsbridge, Devon, and Stratton, Cornwall. Quite what happened to the former place of "Venicombe" is unknown, but as some five thousand hamlets and villages have disappeared since medieval times, and yet have given rise to surnames, this is not wholly surprising. What can be said is that the surname had been well recorded in Devon since the beginnings of church registrations instituted by Henry V111 (1510 - 1547), although what is unusual in this case is how quickly the original spelling as shown below changed to the modern forms. These early recordings include Margery Vinicombe who married John Hybman at Crediton, Devon, on February 14th 1568, and Mary Vinnicombe, daughter of Robert Vinnicombe, christened at Crediton on May 16th 1605. Later recordings include those of James Vinnecombe, christened at Alphington, Devon, on August 30th 1688, and Mary Vinicombe christened at St Davids, Exeter, on May 25th 1706. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Venicombe, which was dated October 27th 1575, christened at Newton St Cyres, Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess" 1558 - 1603. 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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