SURNAMES as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. They were not in use in England or in Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and were first found in the Domesday Book. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. It was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) it became general practice amongst all people. BANKS was a locational name ' the dweller by the grassy slopes or meadows. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Matthew Banke of County Suffolk, 1327. Nicholas del Bancke of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Simon Bancke, registered at Oxford University in the year 1596. John Banks and Anne Killmister were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1760. Notable members of the name include Lady Mary Bankes (died in 1661). She was the English royalist married to Sir John Bankes (1598-1644). She defended Corfe Castle in 1643 and in 1646 against the parliamentarians, who on the second occasion captured it through treachery
Thomas Banks (1735-1805) was the English sculptor, born in Lambeth. He was apprenticed to an ornament carver, and married into wealth. From 1772 to 1779 he lived in Rome, and visited Russia in 1781.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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