The surname of WILKINS was a baptismal name 'the son of William'. A family of this name were seated at Rathobyres in Midlothian, Scotland, from the 14th century, and the name early found a home in Fife. Early records of the name mention Malcolm Quilquen 1431. David Wilke witnessed a charter at Pitcairn, Fife in 1495. William Wylkyn held land in Glasgow in 1540. Gawine Wilkene was the bailie of Selkirk in 1590. William Wilking was burges of Lanarkshire in the year 1604. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. 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. A notable member of the name was John Wilkins, born in 1614, the English churchman and scientist. He was a graduate of Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and became a domestic chaplain. In the Civil War he sided with Parliament, and in 1656 he married the widowed sister of Oliver Cromwell. He wrote 'Discovery of a World in the Moon' in 1628, in which he discusses the possibility of communication by a flying machine with the moon and its supposed inhabitants.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.
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