This surname of TAN is of two-fold origin. It was an occupational name for a tanner of skins, originally rendered in the Latin form TANNARIUS. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. The name was also a topographic name for someone who lived near a conspicuous pine-tree. The name is also spelt TANN, TANNE and DANNE. The Norman Conquest in the year of 1066 revolutionized our personal nomenclature. The old English name system was gradually broken up and old English names became less common and were replaced by new names from the continent. Early records of the name mention Philip le Tannour, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
Baptised. Mary Tanner, St. James's, Hanover Square, London in 1613. Stephen Tanner married Alice Adams at St. Peter, Cornhill, London, in 1699.Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people.
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