This unusual and interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is found particularly in the northern counties of England. It is a topographical surname, and has two possible interpretations; firstly, it may denote residence by a bank with a wall on it, derived from the Middle English "wall", wall, with "bank", bank. Secondly, the name may be for someone who lived on the bank(s) of a stream, derived from the Northern Middle English "wall(e)", stream, spring, topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The modern surname from this source can be found as Walbanck(e), Walbank, Wallbank and Wallbanks. Among the recordings of the name in Yorkshire is that of the marriage of Agnes Walbankes and Edmond White on July 5th 1579 at Harrow on the Hill, London, and the christening of Jana Wallbanks on June 19th 1664, in the Church of St. James, Paddington, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Wallebonk which was dated 1332, in the "Lancashire Subsidy Rolls", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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