The surname of SKINNER was an occupational name 'the skinner', a dealer in skins. Early records of the name mention Edward Skinere who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. In 1086 the compilation of the Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqueror (1027-87), king of England from 1066. He was born in Failaise, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, by Arlette, a tanner's daughter. On his father's death in 1035, the nobles accepted him as a duke. When Edward the Confessor, king of England died in 1066, William invaded England that Autumn, on 14th October, 1066 killing Harold (who had become King). English government under William assumed a more feudal aspect, the king's tenants-in-chief and all title to land was derived from his grants, and the Domesday Book contains details of the land settlements, and the names of the owners of such. Henry le Skyniar of the County of Oxfordshire in 1273. Robert le Skynnere of the County of London in 1300. Johannes Sckynner of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax in 1379. Robertus Skynner was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1379. Richard, son of John Skinner was baptised in 1618, at the same church. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is often assumed that men 'adopted' their surnames. Some certainly did, but the individual himself had no need for a label to distinguish him from his fellows. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each knight owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized. Monasteries drew up surveys and extents with details of tenants of all classes in their services. Any description which identified the man was satisfactory, his father's name, the name of his land, or a nickname known to be his. The upper classes mostly illiterate, were those with whom the officials were chiefly concerned and among them surnames first became numerous and hereditary.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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