Recorded as Windybank, Windaybank, Windebank and Windibank, this is a medieval English surname which appears to have originated in the county of Lancashire. It is clearly residential and describes a person who came from a place called Windy Bank, although no such place appears in any of the published gazetters of the past three centuries. It derives from the pre 7th century Old English word "wind", meaning wind, and the Danish-Viking word "banke," usually meaning a river bank. In past times people were sometimes given a surname based upon a natural feature where they lived, and this would seem to be another example. Early examples of the surname recordings include Robert del Wyndybankes in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in the year 1315, whilst Nan of Windebank was recorded in 1422 at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, in the Custom Roll and Rental Records of that county. Sir Francis Windebank (1582-1646) was joint secretary of state with John Coke in 1632, and was engaged by King Charles 1st of England in secret negotiations regarding the union of Anglican and Roman churches in 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Wyndibonk. This was dated 1299, in the Chartulary of Whalley Abbey, Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 1st. He was known to history as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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