This surname was of the locational group of surnames 'of Quesney or Chenay' a small place in France. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066. 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 assumed the title of 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. Radulfus de Caisned was such a tenant, who held land in County Sussex. Hugh de Chaisnei appears in Oxford in 1166, and Robert de Cheisnei was recorded in 1183 in London. William de Cheny and Roger del Chesne appear in documents in 1317. Edward Cheny of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
Later instances of the name mention Thomas Cheney and Elizabeth Clopton who were married in Canterbury in the year 1661, and Christopher Wilkinson and Ellen Cheyne married in London in 1663.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Cheney)
This name has at least twenty five variant spellings of the name.
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