Recorded in several spelling forms including King, Kinge, Kingett and Kynge, this is a early medieval English "nickname" surname. There are several possible originations. It may have referred to someone who conducted himself in a kingly manner, or to a person who played the part of a King in a pageant, or to one who had won the title in a contest. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cyning", from the word "cynn", meaning tribe or race, and originally "a tribal leader". The fact that the name King is so widespread in England is probably due to the fact that the pageants were very popular in most towns and villages, and that the "Kings" were proud of their title. An interesting namebearer was Edward King, friend to the poet John Milton (1608 - 1674), who perished in a shipwreck off the English coast on the way to Ireland in 1637; he was commemorated by Milton in the lyric poem "Lycidas". The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a black shield with a gold lion passant, in chief a silver label of three points. The label is a mark of cadency in ancient arms: the eldest son during the lifetime of his father bears a label. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aelwine se Cyung, which was dated 1050 - 1071, in the "Old English Bynames", during the reign of King Edward, known as "The Confessor", 1042 - 1066. 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.