[hwens, wens]
from what place?: Whence comest thou?
from what source, origin, or cause?: Whence has he wisdom?
from what place, source, cause, etc.: He told whence he came.

1250–1300; Middle English whennes, whannes, equivalent to whanne (by syncope from Old English hwanone whence) + -s -s1

1. hence, hither, thence, thither, whence, whither, yon (see usage note at the current entry) ; 2. when, whence.

Although sometimes criticized as redundant on the grounds that “from” is implied by the word whence, the idiom from whence is old in the language, well established, and standard. Among its users are the King James Bible, Shakespeare, Dryden, and Dickens: Hilary finally settled in Paris, from whence she bombarded us with letters, postcards, and sketches. From thence, a parallel construction, occurs infrequently.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
whence (wɛns)
1.  from what place, cause, or origin?
2.  (subordinating) from what place, cause, or origin
usage  The expression from whence should be avoided, since whence already means from which place: the tradition whence (not from whence) such ideas flowed

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, whennes, with adverbial genitive -s, from O.E. hwanone, related to hwænne (see when).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Chapters will gather the seeds, and forward them to collection centres, whence
  they will be shipped to the gas-mask plants.
Shed a thought, though, of whence this economic strength.
The great imposed order of the wall is returning to the chaos from whence it
The gas clouds whence they come tend to fragment, leading to multiple middling
  stars rather than a single heavyweight one.
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