The surname of HEAN was of the locational group of surnames meaning 'the dweller at the herne' from residence in a nook or corner. The name was originally derived from the Old English word HYRNE, and Herne in Kent, or Hirn in Hampshire are two of the places from where the original bearer may have taken his name. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived and worked. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. The name is also spelt as HIRN, HIRNE, HEARNE, HEARN, HURNE and HERNE. Early records of the name mention Gunnora de la Heane who was documented in the year 1212 in County Hampshire, and Walter Atehurne appears in 1267 in County Somerset, Henry en le Hurne was recorded in 1279 in Berkshire and Johnn ate Hirne was mentioned in 1303 in County Bedfordshire. Thomas in the Hurne of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll tax of 1379. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. A later instances of the name includes William Crossland who married Mary Hurne, at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1773.
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