The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. This surname of VANIER is a French occupational name for a winnower or more often for a maker and seller of winnowing fans, which were used to fan away and sift inferior elements from grain or wheat. The name was derived from the Old French word VANNE, and rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form VANNUS. Other spellings of the name include FEN, FENNE, VAN, VANNE, VANNIER, LEVANNIER, VANNEUR, LEVANNEUR and VANNEREAU. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066 and early records of the name mention Godwin de la FENNA, who was documented in the year 1176 in County Durham. Thomas atte FENNE was recorded in Wales in 1185 and Ralph de FENNE appears in the year 1190 in London. John atte VENNE was documented in 1327 in County Somerset. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries. Later instances of the name include Simon VEN, (alias FEN) who appears in London in 1580. John VEN (draper) and Ellinor Clarke were married in London in the year 1594. Richard VENNE of County Devon, registered at Oxford University in 1619. Ambrose VENN and Eleanor Nottingham were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1657. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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