This surname was a locational name 'of HINCHCLIFFE' now Hinchliff Mill a spot in the township of Austonley, close to Holmtorth in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Local surnames, by far the largest group, derived from a place name where the man held land or from the place from which he had come, or where he actually lived. These local surnames were originally preceded by a preposition such as "de", "atte", "by" or "in". The names may derive from a manor held, from working in a religious dwelling or from literally living by a wood or marsh or by a stream. The earliest of this name on record appears to be John de Hengeclif, who was documented in Wakefield, Yorkshire in the year 1324, and Agnes de Hingeclif appears in County Essex in 1327. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on 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. Since the dawn of civilisation the need to communicate has been a prime drive of all higher mankind. The more organised the social structure became, the more urgent the need to name places, objects and situations essential to the survival and existence of the social unit. From this common stem arose the requirements to identify families, tribes and individual members evolving into a pattern in evidence today. In the formation of this history, common usage of customs, trades, locations, patronymic and generic terms were often adopted as surnames. The demands of bureaucracy formally introduced by feudal lords in the 11th century, to define the boundaries and families within their fiefdoms, crystallized the need for personal identification and accountability, and surnames became in general use from this time onwards. Other records of the name mention Richard Henchcliff of County Somerset, who was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Johannes de Hyncheclyf of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Joseph Hinchcliffe married Elizabeth Mantle at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1728.
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