Recorded in a number of spellings including Walkinshaw, Walkingshaw, Walkenshaw and Wakenshaw, this famous and noble surname is of Scottish origin. It is locational from the lands of Walkinshaw in the county of Renfrewshire. The place is so called from the Old English pre 7th century word "wealcere," meaning a fuller and "sceaga," a copse, hence 'The copse of the fullers'. The work of the fuller was to scour and thicken raw cloth by trampling on it in a large vessel, and it is possible that this work was carried on here. In 1235 Duugallus filius Cristini exchanged his lands of Cnoc for the lands of Walkinshaw, and it was from him the name holders descended. The Walkinshaws were hereditary foresters to the High Stewards for the barony of Renfrewshire, hence their armorial supporters, "two foresters in long gowns". Early recordings of the surname include Constantine Walkinschaw, in the General Register of Sasines for Argyll, Bute and Dumbarton in 1562 and Adam Walkenschaw registered in Fogo in 1679. Maria Walkinshaw was a mistress to the uncrowned (King) James 111rd of England and Scotland, and known to history as 'The Young Pretender'. In the modern idiom, the surname is recorded Walkinshaw, Walkingshaw and very occasionally, as Wakenshaw. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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