This surname, widespread in Lancashire and Yorkshire, is of medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of the male given name Watkin, itself a diminutive of Wat, a popular pet form of Walter. This name was introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, in the forms "Walt(i)er" and "Waut(i)er", and is composed of the Germanic elements "wald", rule, and "heri, hari", army. The normal vernacular pronunciation of the Middle Ages, "water", reflected the latter of these forms.The name appears in its Latinized form "Walterius" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Its subsequent popularity produced a wide variety of diminutives and patronymics including: Watt, Watkin(g), Watkins, Watkiss and Watkinson. Watkin, son of Henry Balistarius, recorded in the Wardrobe Account of Henry 111 in 1252, was paid the princely sum of one shilling and five pence for his goods. In 1580, one Edward Watkinson, of Yorkshire, was entered in the Oxford University Register. John Watkinson, an early emigrant to the New World, embarked from London on the ship "James Romsey" bound for St. Christopher's, in the Barbadoes, in January 1634. A Coat of Arms granted to the Watkinson family of Beeston, Nottinghamshire, and Ilkley, Yorkshire, is a gold shield with a fesse between three azure mullets. The mullet denoted Honour and Achievement in service of the state in ancient times. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Watkynson, which was dated 1485, in the "Register of the Guild of the Corpus Christi in the City of York", during the reign of King Henry V11, known as "Henry Tudor", 1485 - 1509. 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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