This surname WINK was a topographic name, perhaps for someone who lived at a spot where boats were hauled up onto land by means of pulleys. The name was originally derived from the Old English word WINCE. There are also two places of the name Winch, parishes of East and West Winch in the County of Norfolk. The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired. Early records of the name mention William de la Winch who was documented in County Worcestershire in the year 1275, and William le Wynch appears in County Sussex in the year 1327. Peter de Winch was recorded as the vicar of Amernghall, County Norfolk in 1382 and Thomas atte Wynch appears in Norfolk, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Most of the European surnames 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. Later instances of the name mention Nathaniell. daughter of William Wynch (grocer) who was baptised at the church of St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1628, and Ann Winch was buried in the churchyard of the same church in 1752. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Hannes, County Bedfordshire. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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