The surname of HINXMAN was an official name 'the henchman' a horseman, a groom. The name was derived from the Old English word 'hengestmann' The name was later to mean a page of honour or squire, meaning a gentleman. Other spellings of the name include HENSMAN, HINKSMAN, HINCKESMAN and HINCHMAN. Early records of the name mention William Henxman, during the reign of Henry V. (1413-1422). An act passed in 1463, to restrain excess in apparel makes an exception in favour of ' Hensmen, Heroldes, Purceyvants and Sweredbearers'. An item in the Privvy Purce of Henry VIII in 1532 mentions 'paied to the yoman of the henxman for their lodging at ii (two) times at Westminster'. Throughout these entries the henchman was considered to be a 'page of honour'. Thomas Henchman, was buried at St. Dionis Backchurch, London in the year 1674. The name has many variant spellings which include Hensman, Hinckesman Hinchman, Hincksman and Henxman. 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 flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. For the majority of the English speaking peoples, the main sources of names have been the traditions of the various Germanic tribes of Northern Europe, and the names introduced by the Church, perhaps Hebrew names of the Old Testament, or Greek and Roman names of the New Testament and saints. Many names were brought over to England by the invading Anglo-Saxons, a mixed collection of people from various Germanic tribes, speaking various dialects which were called Old English.
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