Who are the Elkingtons? Originally they were the Elkingtons of Elkington in County Northampton, and also of two parishes in Lincolnshire. Thomas Elkington, then of London, but formerly of Elkington, Northampton, being granted granted a coat of arms (see below) by King James 1st in 1608. The place name origin is Old English pre 7th century, and as such it translates as 'the place (dun) of the swan (aelftu) people (ing)'. Whether this refers to a tribe who breed swans, or whether 'swan' was a baptismal name of endearment, is not clear.The earliest recording of the place name is in the 1086 Domesday Book where it is spelt as 'Eltetone', an attempt no doubt, by a Norman clerk to twist his tonge around the English spelling. Later in the 1200 Curia Regis Rolls it is recorded as 'Heltedun' which is even more obscure before 'returning' to the near correct form of 'Eltingdon' in 1283. However the 'modern' surname predates this later recording (see below) which suggests that records are probably missing. In fact the name does not seem to be recorded in Lincolnshire church registers until 1608, when William Elkington (or Ilkington) of Heckington was recorded, or in Northamptonshire church registers until 1615 when Marie Elkington married Henrie Brown at Lilbourne. The coat of arms has the blazon of a red field charged with six cross crosslets, between two flaunches, all silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Elkington, which was dated 1274, in the Hundred Rolls of County Lincoln, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 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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