From Andy Hawkins' "The Ancient History of the Distinguished Surname 'Hawkins'" (link under sources below):
The distinguished surname "Hawkins" is one of the most notable Anglo-Saxon surnames, and its historical trail has emerged from the mists of time to become an influential surname of the Middle Ages and of the present day. In an in-depth research of such ancient manuscripts as the Domesday Book, compiled in 1086 AD by Duke William of Normandy, the Ragman Rolls (1291 - 1296) collected by King Edward I of England, the Curia Regis Rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish register, baptismals, tax records and other ancient documents researchers found the first record of the name Hawkins in Kent, where they were seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066.
Confusing to most, we found many different spellings in the archives researched. Although your name "Hawkins" occurred in many manuscripts, from time to time the surname was also spelt Hawkins, Hawkin, Haykins, Haykin, and these changes in spellings frequently occurred, even between father and son. There is one record, a father and eight sons, in the graveyard where they are buried, all nine have different spellings of their surnames. Many reasons were revealed for these spelling variations, but mainly church officials and scribes spelt the name as it was told to them.
The family name Hawkins is one of the most notable of the ancient Anglo-Saxon race. This founding race of England, a fair skinned people, led by the Saxon General / Commanders Hengist and Horsa, settled in Kent from about the year 40 AD. The Angles on the other hand occupied the Eastern coast.
The Anglo-Saxon five century domination of English society was an uncertain time, and the nation divided into five separate kingdoms, a high king being elected as supreme ruler.
By 1066 King Harold came to the throne of England, which was enjoying reasonable peace and prosperity. However, the Norman invasion from France and their victory at the battle of Hastings, found many of the vanquished Saxon land owners forfeiting their land to Duke William and his invading nobles. They became oppressed under Norman rule, and some moved northward to the Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire, even into Scotland.
The family name "Hawkins" emerged as a notable English family name in the county of Kent, where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity, seated at Hawking in Kent, with manor and estates in that shire. The family claim the Saxon origin from Hawkin, near Folkestone in Kent, and the first on record was Osbert Hawkins, who was the Lord of the Manor and estates about the time of Henry II. They branched to the West Country in Monmouthshire and acquired "The Gaer" and the estate of Tredunnoch in that shire. They also acquired Kelstone in Somerset, Trewithan in Cornwall, Pennans in Cornwall and Plymouth, the latter being the home of Sir John Hawkins of the Spanish Armada fame. The family seat in Kent also branched to Nash Court in that same county. Notable amongst the family at this time was Sir John Hawkins.
For the next two or three centuries, bearers of the surname "Hawkins" flourished and played a significant role in the political development of England. During the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, England was ravaged by religious and political conflict. Puritanism, Catholicism, Royalist and Parliamentary forces shed much blood. Many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies". Some were rewarded with grants of land, others were banished.
In Ireland settlers became known as the adventurers, seeking land in Ireland. Called "undertakers", they undertook to maintain the Protestant faith. In Ireland they settled in Ulster, and the name in Ireland was often changed to Haughan.
Meanwhile, the New World beckoned, and migration continued, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly directly from England or Scotland, their home territories. Some clans and families even moved to the European continent. Kinsmen of the family name "Hawkins" were amongst the many who sailed aboard the armada of small sailing ships known as the "White Sails", which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching their destination, their number reduced by sickness and the elements.
Principal amongst the settlers which could be considered a kinsman of the surname "Hawkins", on a variable spelling of that family name, was John Hawkins, settled in the Leeward Island; Job Hawkins, settled in Boston in 1630; Richard Hawkins settled in New England in 1635; Thomas Hawkins, settled in Georgia in 1735; Thomas Hawkins, settled in New England in 1630. The trek from the port of entry was also arduous, and many joined the waggon trains to the prairies or the west coast. During the American War of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada, about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
20th Century notables of this surname include many distinguished persons, Charles Hawkins, American politician; Dallas Hawkins, Canadian engineer; David Hawkins, American psychiatrist; Paul Hawkins, British politician; Admiral Sir Raymond Hawkins.
During the course of the research, we also determined the many coats of arms matriculated by the family name. The most ancient grant to the family of a coat of arms that was found was Silver on a black cross, five gold fleur de lis. Other coats of arms are described on pages 189-190 at http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.022%20-%201897/022-13.pdf.
The family crest was a gold stag on a green mound.
The ancient family motto for this distinguished name was Toujours Pret.
other versions of this surname
- http://welbank.net/hawkins/hctree.html (handwritten and difficult to read)
branch of Dublin and County Cork
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/hh4aa/hawkins01.php (subscription required to view without interruption)
branch of Somerset (including the Hawkins Baronets of Kelston)
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/hh4aa/hawkins02.php (subscription required to view without interruption)
branch of Cornwall and Essex (including the sole Hawkins Baronet of Trewithen)
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/hh4aa/hawkins03.php (subscription required to view without interruption)
branch of Middlesex and Oxfordshire
- http://www.stirnet.com/genie/data/british/hh4aa/hawkins03.php#con1 (subscription required to view without interruption)