This is a copy of an article published in The Peak Advertiser, the Peak District's local free newspaper, on 11th August 2003, reproduced by kind permission of the author, the late Desmond Holden.

The “What's in a Name” series was a regular feature in the Advertiser over the period 1993‑2004, taking a refreshing look at the derivation of some typically Derbyshire surnames.

Articles are confined to the origins and meanings of surnames, and do not indicate any particular interest on Desmond's part in the genealogy, descent, or family history of individuals bearing the surnames featured.

Editor's Note: Articles are provided for general interest and background only. They are not intended to provide an exhaustive treatise for any individual family history - investigations of which may yield quite different results. Or, in Desmond's own words:

“In the end it must remain with individual bearers of the names to draw upon family traditions and to seek out such documentary evidence as is available to decide the matter for themselves.”

WHAT'S IN A NAME … Are you called HENSTOCK?

Variations of this name include Hempstock and Hindstock, but while Henstock is not only described as special to Derbyshire it is the only form in our local directory. Curiously enough, however, it originates in Shropshire where it is related to the place name 'Hinstock'. This is a village, 5 miles south of Market Drayton on the convergence of A41 and A529. It is not involved with bird life. The unit 'Hen-' is a modification of another word 'hind'. This is now an archaic description of an agricultural worker or general servant. The village of 'Hinstock' is named in Domesday (1086) only as 'Stoche' (Stoke) which is found in countless place names. In former times, when our island was heavily wooded a new settlement could only be established after much felling of trees and building amidst the stumps. The old name for such stumps was 'stock' - which accounts for its frequent use in place names. The word (first recorded in 872) acquired extended meanings, among which was 'monastic community'. Because so many 'stocks' originated in association with monasteries it was useful to add a distinguishing label: eg. Tavistock - monastery of St. David. The label for our particular 'Stoke' first appeared after 150 years from the 1086 survey taking the form 'Hine-' and later as 'Hyne-'. Unfortunately records are scanty, which makes research into the name Henstock particularly difficult. Much of what follows is simply inspired guess work.

The unit 'Hin-' is almost certainly related to the old English 'hiwan' which means 'servant of a religious community'. The actual spelling used would have been 'hiona' which accounts for the modification into 'Hen-' so the meaning of the place name is: The land belonging to the church and administered by monks. Naturally such ancillary sites did not spring up spontaneously. They were invariably established under the auspices of older centres. Here it would have been focused on Lichfield. Some neighbouring place names reinforce this suggestion. For example Eccleshall which is 9 miles east, means 'the land owned by the church' and Bishop's Offley which is 6 miles eastward refers to woodland which had long been owned by successive Bishops of Lichfield. Similarly named places may be mentioned: Little Hinton, associated with St. David's, Winchester and Hinton-on-the-Green with St. Peter's, Gloucester.

The records of places incorporating 'hiwan' indicate that their names progressed from the prefix 'Hine-' to 'Hen-' (eg. Hinewood - Henwood in Warwick and Hinewick - Henwick in Northamptonshire, now a lost site). The Shropshire location still exhibits the older form ie. Hinstock. It may be surmised that a similar pattern of change was followed and that for some reason it 'back tracked'. Unfortunately the absence of records either of the place name or of the surname are not available to confirm this suggestion.

However it could have been that at the time the surname Henstock was adopted that was also the current name for the village. By the time the name of the site had reverted to 'Hinstock' it would have been inopportune to adapt the surname to correspond. Doubling of place names and a related surname with divergent spelling is by no means uncommon. For example, the place in the West Riding, called Huddleston (near Pontefract) lies behind the surname Hurlestone which is special to Bradford. Location surnames often arise when an inhabitant moves away - usually to seek work elsewhere - and is frequently identified among his new neighbours as 'that man from such-and-such a place'. In this case emigrants would have been referred to as being from Henstock. By the time their native place had settled upon Hinstock, this designation was fixed. Furthermore, the name of the village would be unknown much outside the area and the possibility of correcting it and relating it to an amended surname never arose. It is a melancholy fact, but it must be noted that Hinstock has never attained any notability. It is not mentioned in any guide book available to the 'Advertiser' and the surname has not been borne by any personality. Strange as it may seem, it is not included in the Local Directory for that part of Shropshire! How it has made its way to Derbyshire must be, forever, problematical. There are no records of its first appearances. In fact the earliest reference that this column can trace is dated 1870 and is described merely as 'of Hinstock - a parish in co. Salop, five miles from Newport'.

Site Index Site Index © Desmond Holden
From "The Peak Advertiser", 11th August 2003.

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