This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon/Norse origin, and is a locational name from Winskill, near Penrith in Cumbria. The placename, recorded as "Wynscales" in 1292 in the "Pleas before the King", is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century element "wind", wind and the Old Norse "skali", a hut, shed or temporary building, which is common in placenames of Scandinavian England, especially in the North, hence the place was a spot "sheltered against the wind". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Early recordings of the surname include the marriage of Elyoner Winskell and Robert Clarke on June 13th 1596 at Dacre in Cumberland; the marriage of Elizabeth Winskayle and Clemett Burd at Kirkowald, Cumberland, on July 2nd 1597; and the christening of Ann Winskill, daughter of William Winskill, which occurred on March 20th 1663 at Kirkland Near Penrith, in Cumberland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Wynskell, which was dated September 16th 1571, marriage to Margerie Ranell, at Dacre, Cumberland, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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