This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a nickname from the Olde English pre 7th Century "drincan" meaning "drink" plus "woetre", "water". In the Middle Ages, weak ale was the universal beverage among the poorer classes, and so cheap as to be drunk like water, whereas water itself was only doubtfully potable. The surname may have been given in irony to an innkeeper or a noted tippler. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century (see below). Further recordings include one John Drinkewater (1274), the Hundred Rolls of Shropshire. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Drynkwater, Drynekewatter, Dinkwater, and Drinkewater. Elizabeth Drinkwater married Thomas Shawe on January 25th 1561, at St. Dunstan in the East, London. Thomas Drinkwater married Johane Cock on January 13th 1588 at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. One Stephen Drinkwater is recorded as being a landowner in St. John's parish, the Barbados in 1678. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Drinkewater, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Shopshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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