The surname of HINSHAW was a locational name 'of Henshaw' a place in the parish of Prestbury, County Chester. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Peter de Henschall, who was documented in County Cumberland in 1332. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Other records of the name mention Richard de Henneshagh who was recorded in the year 1365 in County Cheshire, and Willelmus Henshawe of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Rauf Crowder married Agnes Henshaw at Prestbury Church in the year 1560. The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another.
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