This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon, and derives from the male given name "Alcuin, Halchein", containing a first element "aethel", noble, also found in several other Olde English pre 7th Century personal names, for example, "Aethelbeorht", "noble bright", and "Aethelwig", "noble war". The element "Aethel" was gradually reduced to "al", following the arrival of the Normans in 1066, and the above names appear respectively as "Albrict" and "Alwi" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The second element "chein, cuin" represents an early form of the diminutive suffix "-kin", ultimately from the Middle Dutch and West Germanic "-chen", little.Wilkin, a diminutive form of William, first appears as "Wilechin" in the 1166 Pipe Rolls of Northumberland, and Potkin, a pet form of Philip, is initially recorded as "Potechin" in the 166 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 13th Century (see below), and in the modern idiom is found as Allchen, Alchin, Allchin and Allchins. On September 16th 1607, Richard Alchin and Jane Gardner were married at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, and on June 11th 1750, Elisha, daughter of John and Mary Allchin, was christened at St. Luke's, Chelsea, also in London. William Turner Alchin (1790 - 1865) was a noted antiquary and librarian of Winchester and Salisbury. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard (H)alchein, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", 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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