This unusual name is an example of one of the many surnames introduced into England in the 17th and 18th Centuries by Flemish and French Huguenot refugees, fleeing the religious persecution that was rife on the continent during these years. The name first appears in England in the early years of the 17th Century (see below) in the form "De banck", which suggests a French and Flemish origin. The meaning is not certain, however, it is thought to be a topographical name from the French "banc", meaning bench, or bank possibly referring to a terrace on a hillside, with the preposition "de", of. One Nathaniel Debanke is recorded in Martock, Somerset, in 1655 and a Joseph Debanke, a weaver, in London, 1656. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Debanck. which was dated 1611, Parish Records, Hartshorne, Derbyshire. during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.