The surname of HANCOCK was a baptismal name 'the son of John'. This name has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, being given in honour of St. John, the Baptist, precurser of Christ and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as others of the nearly one thousand saints of the name. Some of the principal forms of the name in other European languages are Evan, Ioan, Sean, Johann, Hans, Jan, Jean, Giovanni, Giannai, Vanni, Juan and Ivan. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Early records of the name mention Hanecok Birunc, 1273 County Yorkshire. Warymus Hancok was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward Hancock appear in County Lancashire in the same year, and Thomas Hancok was recorded in County Lancashire in 1400. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function of the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. Later instances of the name mention John Steele (batchelor) and Abigell Hanncok (vergen) who were married at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in 1651. George Handock and Eleanor Jackson were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London 1762.
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