This unusual and long-established name is of early medieval English origin, and is a topographical surname acquired in the first instance by someone who lived on or by a "windy hill". The derivation is from the Middle English "wind", wind(y), with "banke", bank, ridge, usually in the sense of "hill", a development of the Old Norse "bakke", influenced by the Old Danish "banke". The surname may also in some cases be locational, from some minor or unrecorded place named with the same elements. 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. Early examples of the surname include: Robert del Wyndybankes, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, of 1315, and Francis Windebank, listed in the Register of the University of Oxford in 1599. Among recordings of the name in Church Registers are the christening of Edmunde, son of Christopher Windebank, in Otley, Yorkshire, on June 29th 1606, and the marriage of John Windebank and Sara Bonner, on July 3rd 1614, at St. Olave's, Hart Street, London. The family Coat of Arms depicts a gold chevron between three gold birds on an azure shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Wyndibonk, which was dated circa 1300, in the "Chartulary of Whalley Abbey", Lancashire, 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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